In the Regional Premiere of the theatrical production, “The Country House”, at www.theatreworks.org , there is a gathering of colorful characters, associated with the performing world of films and theater. They have gathered to honor the anniversary of the loss of a daughter, sister, mother, and wife, in the country house of the family matriarch, Anna Patterson (Kimberly King). Anna’s, Kathy, a renowned actress, succumbed to cancer, after a “heroic fight”, about a year ago. Joining Anna’s son, Elliot Cooper (Stephen Muterspaugh), son-in-law, Walter Keegan (Gary S. Martinez), and grand-daughter, Susie Keegan (Rosie Hallett), the guests also include Walter’s gorgeous, young, new girlfriend, Nell McNally, (Marcia Pizzo) and Anna’s friend and special invitee, Michael Astor (Jason Kuykendall).
The play written by Pulitzer prize winning playwright, Donald Margulies and directed by Robert Kelley, picks up steam as it progresses and delivers an unexpected ending, packed with depth. In the first act, it seems unclear if the playwright intends to offer a comedy or offer reflections on deeper issues pertaining to life, love, and loss. In trying to do both, he seems to succeed at neither, as initially, the play fails to blend both comedy and tragedy seamlessly. The comic repartee in the first half of the show, seems to fall flat. But as the play progresses into the start of the second act, it begins to tackle serious issues.
As characters struggle to deal with old unresolved issues, grief, jealousies, and insecurities, they evolve and exhibit more depth and substance, and the end is significantly more impactful, than what transpires in the first half of the play.
Anna (King), who describes herself as “the leading lady, without a stage”, with a flair for dramatics, is clearly the star of the show. Andrea Bechert’s set design is perfect and keeps viewers focused on everything that transpires within the “Country House”. The play will run at www.theatreworks.org in Mountain View, till September 20, 2015.