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Lark Eden

a Drama
by Natalie Symons

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4456

SHOWING : May 02, 2013 - May 26, 2013



We all have two families, the one we are born into and the one we choose. Lark Eden is the smallest of Georgia towns and the setting for this humorous new play that traces the lives of three lifeā€‘long friends. From passing notes in class to a series of lyrical letters spanning 75 years, Emily, Mary & Thelma remind us that our friendships leave a fingerprint on the hearts of those we love. Bring your best friend!

Director Melissa Foulger
Emily Naima Carter
Mary Rachel Garner
Thelma Minka Wiltz
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A Litany of Woes
by playgoer
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Aurora Theatre's "Lark Eden" bills itself in the program as "not a 'chick play,'" even though its production staff and cast are all women. I can't fully agree. During the play, I heard women behind me whispering "that's me" or "just like so-and-so" as the three actresses revealed a new bit of character or behavior. Meanwhile, the man beside me dozed for substantial portions of the show.

"Lark Eden" is an epistolary work, starting with notes twelve-year-old girls pass in class and extending through the full lifetimes of two of the characters. Naima Carter Russell plays the sole survivor, Emily, who introduces and concludes the play with the same framing monologue. She does a wonderful job of transforming from the elderly lady of the introduction to the youngster of the first group scene, but her diction isn't great when competing with the sounds of the heat/air conditioning system.

Minka Wiltz plays the pious Thelma with verve and directness. Rachel Garner plays the cynical Mary with wry charm and forthrightness. The actresses use posture and body movements to communicate the aging of the characters from girlhood to old age, and that's the best part of the play. The words they speak were written as letters, so director Melissa Foulger's blocking can add only so much interest to the action. These three women lead generally unhappy lives, and it's depressing to hear each new piece of unhappy news. Reunions are planned after two of the women move from fictional Lark Eden, Georgia, but they never come to fruition. Like the play itself, it's a lot of waiting and waiting for nothing.

The set by Lizz Dorsey is attractive, with three front porches arranged across the stage, but they don't change to reflect the physical movements of the actresses from one location to another. And it might help to remember the physics of glass windows -- when lacy curtains are supposed to be inside the house, they shouldn't protrude through the frame as they do in the center house. The surface of the raked stage has various bits of handwriting on it, presumably to suggest the epistolary nature of the work, but they aren't visible or legible enough to have any resonance. Mary Parker's lighting shows the set to advantage, with nice blackouts on a house front as the resident expires.

"Lark Eden" will probably appeal to some audiences, but its intermissionless running time of over two hours and the unrelieved litany of woes the women reveal becomes grinding over time. There's more relief in finally coming to the end than in enjoying the moments of support the three women share. It's a professional production with good acting and a good flow, but it just goes on too long. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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