Sunday, April 25, 2010

Theatrical Review: A Cheever Evening

Theatrical Review: A Cheever Evening
Written by: A. R. Gurney
Directed by: Sue Butler and Katherine Neville
Theatrical Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

The Shawnee Playhouse in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presented The Center Stage Players‘ production of “A Cheever Evening” by A. R. Gurney based upon the works of John William Cheever who was often referred to as “the Chekhov of the suburbs.” The majority of his writings took place in the Northeast section of the United States and often dealt the duality of human nature especially in regards to presenting an acceptable personal fa├žade while hiding a corrupt nature within oneself.

The play is a series of vignettes which seem separate but soon become interrelated as it progresses. The first act of the play takes place during the 1930s and 40s and begins with a couple who are able to hear the going ons of other people living in the city on their radio. Some are amusing while a number of the scenes they overhear are disturbing. Other portions of the act relate the desperation of the times of “The Great Depression” era both on an economic and personal level. The economic level leads one character to abandon his morals in order to steal from his neighbors to feed his family while the personal level of the depression allows a woman to abandon her marital life as she meets a man kinder than her husband. These are just two examples how people are effected by the times they live in but the play goes beyond this as the second act of the play takes place during the 1960s in which we discover the duality of the human condition changes very little throughout the passage of time.

The cast consisted of Dan Eash (who also serves on The Center Stage Players’ Board of Directors), Patrick Turner (who also serves on The Center Stage Players’ Board of Directors), Katherine Neville (who also serves on The Center Stage Players’ Treasurer as well as the production‘s Co Director, Set designer, and Program Designer), Rick Fisher, Jennifer Serowick, and Juliet Dunham. The members of this ensemble cast portrays numerous characters throughout the production with each given the opportunity to demonstrate their considerable talents. Such talent made the play very enjoyable to watch.

The Shawnee Playhouse presentation of The Center Stage Players’ production of “A Cheever Evening” by A. R. Gurney was Directed by Sue Butler who also serves as The Center Stage Players’ President and she designed the production’s set along with Jack Butler and Scot Cleveland. The Production was Stage Managed by Lillian Ramirez-Gonzalez who also serves as The Center Stage Player’ Secretary. The Center Stage Players’ Vice President is Mary Erm. The Lighting Design was done by Arthur Ritter while Eric Dwyer created the Sound Design. The Executive Director of The Shawnee Playhouse* is Midge McClosky while the producers are Ginny and Charlie Kirkwood. Group Sales of the productions are handled by Mary Horn (who also served as a member of the Box Office Staff with Becky Haskell) while The Shawnee Playhouse publicity is handled by Amy Cramer.

This presentation of The Center Stage Players’ production of “A Cheever Evening” by A. R. Gurney has concluded its run at The Shawnee Playhouse in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA on April 25th and it’s this reviewer was unable to make his recommendation of this play until now. It was a good play with a very talented cast well worth watching. The next Shawnee Playhouse in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presentations will include The Center Stage Players’ production of “Dr. Cook’s Garden” April 30th - May 9th, The Pocono Skies Electro Music Festival May 15th and 16th, and “Manhattan Casanova” May 21st - 30th. Please contact The Shawnee Playhouse at 570-421-5093 or Explore their Website at www.theshawneeplayhouse.com for more information and to reserve your ticket. Please feel free to Explore The Center Stage Players’ Website at www.centerstageplayers.org to learn more information about them.

Those who enjoy the Passionate Art Lover level of membership in The Forwardian Arts Society are offered a $3.00 discount off the admission fee of selected The Shawnee Playhouse Productions.

Photograph provided by The Shawnee Playhouse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just a quick note... the first scenes are set in the very late 1940s, not as you suggest, the Great Depression of the 1930s. In fact the setting of the Postwar is essential to the Play's brutal mixture of class expectation and humdrum daily life.