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Another Mother

a Comedy/Drama
by G.M. Lupo

COMPANY : Essential Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : West End Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 5118

SHOWING : August 04, 2017 - August 26, 2017



Winner of the 2017 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award, this play follows the journey of Genevieve as she pieces together the mysterious identities and relationships between her biological mother, her birth mother and the mother who raised her.

Director Peter Hardy
Production Manager/TD Elisabeth Cooper
Rosalind Duchard Nina Emmaline Jones
Rosalind Duchard Nina Emmaline Jones
Abigail Worthy/Nurse Kristin Storla
Alyssa Caine Christie Vozniak
Barbara McKenna/Rhiannon Worthy Sarah Falkenburg Wallace
Steven Asher/Mr. Williams Trey York
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Another Essential Summer
by playgoer
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
There’s some clunky exposition: a character in Washington state happening to know where Johns Creek, Georgia is; references to the Old Testament and the lineage of Jacob and sons (and daughter). There are some hanging threads: a hinted-at romance between teenager Genevieve and lawyer Steven; references to unfamiliar additional siblings of Rosalind; lack of a cogent explanation of why mother Rosalind cut all ties and moved around so frequently following her husband’s death. But mostly there’s an intriguing storyline, blessedly free from four-letter language, and a whole lot of entertainment.

G.M. Lupo’s "Another Mother" tells the story of Genevieve Duchard (Rylee Bunton) attempting to sort out her genealogy following the death of her mother (Nina Jones). She’s assisted by known relatives (played by Kristin Storla and Sarah Falkenburg Wallace), an unknown relative discovered through a DNA genealogy website (Christine Vozniak), and her professor mother’s former lab assistant (Kelly Quinn). Male roles are played by Trey York, along with some voice-overs that cleverly explain why only the principal females are shown onstage at a legal meeting.

Chris "Lito" Tamez’s set, with its basics shared with concurrently-playing "Ada and the Memory Engine," consists of a paneled projection screen and painted floor, whose colors are echoed in large blocks that represent various configurations of furniture, and also in a Rubik’s cube that Genevieve plays with in childhood flashback scenes. Matthew Mammola’s projections show computer screen contents and help to set location, and Harley Gould’s lighting illuminates the portions of the stage used for individual scenes. Kathy Manning’s props and Jane Kroessig’s costumes add to the visual appeal.

Dan Bauman’s sound design makes use of somewhat mechanized music during some scene changes, which I don’t feel really suits the mood of the play, but has a subtle clock chime effect that sweetly echoes a reference in the script. Little touches like that elevate a production.

Peter Hardy has directed a smooth flow across a number of scenes in a number of disparate locations, with seamless transitions to and from momentary flashback scenes. He has elicited good performances out of all his actors, three of whom play multiple roles and many of whom portray characters ten or twenty years apart. Sarah Falkenburg Wallace in particular makes her two characters stand apart, with her New England-accented Aunt Barbara striking in her humorless severity, erasing memories of her more easy-going Aunt Rhiannon. Kelly Quinn does a remarkable job distinguishing Leah Walker the college-age lab assistant from Leah Walker the older security firm CEO.

The two-act structure of "Another Mother" results in some duplication of exposition, as characters introduced later in the story need to be caught up on what others have already discovered in act one. Mr. Lupo adds a lot of laugh-out-loud moments in the second act, though, and they help to make the duplication of information easy to swallow. The character of Alyssa Caine, a schoolteacher with a side business of running princess parties, introduces a lot of the comedy. Christine Vozniak hams up the role just the right amount, endearing herself to every audience member without ever becoming cloying.

The story centers on Genevieve (Rylee Bunton) and her cousin Abigail (Kristin Storla), who is running a family genealogical study. The two actresses filling these roles do capable work as the more eccentric characters in the story revolve around them. They drive the solution to the mystery that is Genevieve’s genealogical provenance. The mystery provides the backbone of the play, but Mr. Lupo (aided by director Peter Hardy) has provided plenty of material that fleshes out the story into a full evening of entertainment. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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