Sunday, February 8, 2015

Madwomen at Parson’s Nose

Madwomen Photo Credit Parson's Nose
Parson’s Nose founder, the charming Lance Davis, in his curtain speech, vamps awaiting the arrival of relatives of a cast member.  The store front where the theatre shares studio space is simple and straight forward. This is adult theatre. There   an air of caring and a personal approach. Davis serves refreshments to the audience!  2015 marks the fifteenth year that this hearty band of actors/artists as they advance into their new season with Davis’s adaptation of Maurice Valency’s translation of Jean Giradoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot

We meet a broad range of characters with as many degrees of skill as there are members of the cast.  Lance Davis’s direction is simple.  Nicely painted drops take us to the sidewalk café where The President (first night jitters Alan Brooks) connives with the Baron (Gary Lamb) and the Broker (Paul Perri) to create a company dedicated to fleecing anyone who may be fleeced for all their money. Across the room sits the kingpin, The Prospector, (James Calvert) in an ironically pristine ice cream suit. (Costumes by Holly Victoria Willaume are excellent!). Anything but clean, these four conspire to drill for oil in the neighborhood ruled over by title character Madwoman: Countess Aurelia (superb Mary Chalon).

In Act II perfectly underplayed Barry Gordon (Ragman) serves as a calming common denominator for the issues that Aurelia and her whacky sister madwomen (Dorothy Brooks, Jill Rogosheske and Marisa Chandler) as they plan the trial of Prospector and his cabal of greedy capitalists. Ragman serves as defense counsel to try in abstentia the rascals who will stop at nothing to secure the oil that the Prospector declares to lie beneath the Boulevard Chaillot.  Auriela has learned about the Secret Door that leads to the depths of the sewers of Paris.  After a brief trial the bad guys are all sent to their demise down the Rat Hole! 

Giradoux is and shall always be the Romantic.  A side story of true love between Phillipe and Irma: (Daniel James Clark dubbed Roderick by Auriela and Amber B. Malo), in typical fashion lock eyes and are destined to spend their lives together. Perhaps this is the playwright’s pitch for a happy future. Eerily prophetic, echoing the warning of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the play’s message is couched in a slightly farcical French setting.  The theme of Ike’s statement,  “… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex!” rings true.  Auriela’s kangaroo court conviction and sentence for the oil cabal may be one that many of us in the 21st Century might secretly wish for.

PN’s production is simple and straight forward.  There is a feeling of community and community theatre that permeates the space from the moment the audience comes in.  Respect for the play in this deliberately abbreviated adaptation makes it totally approachable.   A short intermission is the theatre’s way to stimulate discussion and community over Orangina and red wine. Tres Francais.

The Mad Woman of Chaillot by Jean Giradoux
Parson’s Nose Theatre
89 S. Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91030
Saturdays and Sundays
Through March 1, 2015
Tickets (Pay what you will) and information
626 403 7667

No comments:

Post a Comment