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Entertaining Lesbians

a Comedy
by Topher Payne

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 5548

SHOWING : August 02, 2019 - August 17, 2019



All Rowena Tuttle wants is a place in polite society. But as a cisgender heterosexual white woman, no one finds her interesting anymore. If she wants to gain admission for her daughter into the uber-exclusive School for Young People, she’s going to require a more compelling personal narrative, and a more diverse group of friends.

Aided with significant hesitation by her husband and her personal assistant, Rowena sets her sights on Atlanta’s most powerful lesbian couple, determined to forge a friendship. But just before the lesbians arrive, Rowena’s past catches up with her: Her long-presumed-dead mother arrives on her doorstep with a mutant farm animal and a passel of inconvenient truths.

Then they find the ransom note. Rowena’s daughter has been kidnapped.

But Rowena Tuttle will not be deterred. There are still lesbians to entertain.

Out of Box is proud to kick off its Beta Test Series with a developmental production of Topher Payne’s ENTERTAINING LESBIANS.

Director Topher Payne
Tad Tuttle Daniel Carter Brown
Oliver Matthew Busch
Ethelene Carolyn Choe
Christi Amanda Cucher
Arlette Kait Rivas
Rowena Tuttle Emily Sams
Mrs. Kelley Parris Sarter
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Entertaining Silliness
by playgoer
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
NOTE: This show is part of the "Beta Test" series at Out of Box, with script changes expected from week to week. The comments that follow are based on the first weekend of the show.

"Entertaining Lesbians" starts promisingly, if with a premise that has been a frequent topic at Out of Box: parents wishing to get their youngster into the best possible school. The first scene introduces us to social-climbing Rowena Tuttle (the totally delightful Emily Sams Brown), her more laid-back husband (the stalwart Daniel Carter Brown), and Rowena’s black assistant Mrs. Kelley (the sardonic Parris Sarter). When Mrs. Kelley is forced to change from her maid-like dress and use her B.F.A. to invent a personality as the black friend of the Tuttles, the comic possibilities seem rife. The Tuttles are white and heterosexual, you see, and intend to cultivate a friendship with a lesbian power couple by embracing diversity in an attempt to make their daughter seem to be a better fit for the tony school they have their eye on.

Then the second scene comes, and we’re introduced to redneck Ethelene. This character falls fairly flat, although Carolyn Choe is perfectly fine in the role. Ethelene occasionally comes out with pungent sayings that seem totally out of left field for her character, and she comes saddled with a mutant farm animal and a faux German vocabulary that seem to exist only for cheap laughs. The third scene introduces us to a tennis instructor (the toned and tanned Matthew Busch), and it’s only close to the act break that we get to meet the two lesbians of the title -- supposed Brit Christi (the versatile Amanda Cucher) and tech-savvy Arlette (the elegant Kait Rivas).

Complications pile up: matching over-sized purses are mistaken one for another, pills are switched, truths slip out as lies abound, and romantic/sexual entanglements are hinted at. It’s vaguely satisfying, but with silly elements like made-up gender-non-specific pronouns giving a sophomoric feel to the proceedings.

Topher Payne has directed his play to give all the actors nice comic moments, and his production design is lovely, with a wall of flowers stage right and trees stage left flanking the back patio (or veranda!) of the Tuttle’s house, all pinks that contrast with the colorful costumes of the cast. Bradley Rudy’s lighting design and Zip Rampy’s sound editing fill out the design elements capably. (Rayme Brown is credited as "Joy Coach," but heaven knows what that is.)

With some rejiggering of the character of Ethelene, "Entertaining Lesbians" might be more successful. Why is the possible Native American heritage of Rowena brought up, then dropped when Ethelene could give some clarity? Why make up a mutant farm animal when a pit-digging pit bull would fulfill the needs of the script? Why have one character seem totally artificial when the others, although often extreme in their idiosyncrasies, seem rooted in reality? These are questions only playwright Topher Payne can answer, and he may, in his own way, in the succeeding weekends of the run. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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