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Becky Shaw at the Wilma

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Becky Shaw
by Gina Gionfriddo
Jan. 6-Jan. 31
The Wilma

Slippery characters trying (sometimes) to be better than they are will keep you laughing at the Wilma Theater as they make their way through a morass of money, class and family. <emBecky Shaw, by Pulitzer finalist Gina Gionfriddo, has parallels to Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and his anti-heroine, Becky Sharp. It’s a comedy of manners, set in contemporary Manhattan and Beantown (one scene in Providence, RI.). Hell breaks loose when newlyweds Suzanna (Danielle Skaarstaad) and Andrew (Armando Riesco) introduce Andrew’s down- on- her- luck friend Becky Shaw (Brooke Bloom) to Suzanna’s oldest and best pal Max, a money manager.
The set- up is a disaster. Acerbic Max, is a ‘short timer,’ he doesn’t stay with anyone more than three months. He bolts after the first date which includes a robbery. Max’s history with Suzanna’s peculiar family should not be given away here.

Playwright Gionfriddo’s timing is fast and furious, so are the jokes and insights. She writes for Law & Order. The Wilma’s cast is terrific. Jeremy Bobb as Max gets the best lines, gesture to inflection he is every inch the unrepetent, defensive, Max. As Suzanna, Danielle Skraastad is dynamic. She would also make a good Becky Shaw. Her downside: the volume she ought to vary. Too much projection can become a bore. Janis Dardaris plays the diva mother. She could eat a dragon for breakfast and keep the sarcasm going. Armando Riesco plays Andrew, Mr. Nice. Bloom as Becky Shaw undercuts some of her victim/manipulator role. Her final scene is the blurriest of all. Anne Kauffman directs. Mimi Lien’s brilliant dioramas let us spy on bedrooms and living rooms: giving the skinny on evolving class. Love and work love and money, money and class How to get along without them? Becky Shaw at the Wilma makes you think what do we owe the ones we love?
What do we mean when we say we’re socially responsible? Not a minute that’s dreary.


Written by Lesley Valdes

January 7, 2010 at 4:43 am

Posted in 1, Champs, Heroines, Drama, marriage, Theater, TV

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Photo: S.G. Valdes

The sidewalk split at 2029. Burst.
Walking by, I almost missed
the tree we fought about
three stories tall, two decades thick.
You would smile your inward smile to see
the tangled cords of pear, unfruitful, like the marriage.
Knobby, exposed
guarding the house, your pride.
When you left, Louise moved in, heard children in our room.
Had I said it was a nursery years before?
I don’t remember what you think of ghosts.
The couple who came after us have parted.
Solace in roots.

Written by Lesley Valdes

December 8, 2009 at 4:06 am