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Hard Feelings

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Neena Beber

COMPANY : Synchronicity Performance Group [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 743

SHOWING : June 06, 2003 - July 06, 2003

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Selma Rogers is having a bad, bad day. Her work is becoming obsolete. Her girlfriend broke up with her. Her writing teacher won't read past her first sentence. Her Grandma's obsessed with bunny slippers. And Eddie's nowhere to be found. Stacy Melich, John Benzinger, Kristi Casey, Lane Carlock and Mary Ellen McCall star in the comic kaleidoscope about a woman on the brink of getting a life.


CAST & CREW LIST
Dr. Disposio John Benzinger
Irene Lane Carlock
Finola Cornflakes Kristy Casey
Granny Gee MaryEllen McCall
Selma Stacy Melich
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REVIEWS

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Moments of Clarity
by Dedalus
Monday, July 14, 2003
4.0
I once thought that life was chaotic and messy and unfocused, but it was time to update my day-planner, so I forgot the thought.

Okay, maybe that isn’t the sort of first sentence that drives writing instructor Dr. Disposio into paroxysms of joy, but it does condense the chaotic and messy play that is Neena Barber’s “Hard Feelings” into a critical moment of clarity.

Electrolygist Selma’s life is coming apart at the seams. Her longtime companion is leaving her, her grandmother is not leaving, her job is becoming obsolete, and her daughter is being kept from her. To try to achieve some clarity, Selma decides she’s a writer and enrolls in Dr. Disposio’s class, where …

But Synchronicity Performance Group’s production of this play has closed, so a plot synopsis at this point would be redundant, and not a little unclear.

Basically, I liked this play a lot. It had rough edges, it threatened to veer into caricature only to be brought back by tiny moments of grace and humanity, it toyed with the miraculous only to leave a perfectly mundane “out” for the skeptics among us, and it reminded us that, moments of clarity aside, the beauty of life is the chaos and the mess and the lack-of-focus.

The cast was uniformly convincing. Stacy Melich perfectly captured Selma’s confusion and anger and silliness without missing those grace notes that make a performance sing to us. The supporting cast achieved the remarkable feat of taking what are, on first glance, caricatures more than characters, and giving them a life and believability apart form the general tropes they represented.

And Rachel May’s direction used the small space at 7 Stages to marvelous effect. Different playing areas were “color-coded” without being precious, giving us a shorthand into place. There was a technical faux pas the night we saw the show, but these things happen – and it’s a credit to the cast that it didn’t throw them.

So, the play is just what it’s about – full of peaks and valleys and laughs and unanswered questions and bunny slippers and pineapple upside-cake and moments of cruelty and moments of kindness.

And even a few moments of clarity.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)
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