I am not sure how much of this I agree with – or even understand for that matter – but hey – it’s’ press in the Star Tribune!!!!!
copied from www.startribune.com
Review: Rural life far from perfect in ‘Perfect Pie’
By JOHN TOWNSEND, Special to the Star Tribune
January 19, 2009
Canadian playwright Judith Thompson ruptures all sentimentality about rural and small-town life in a way that would have stunned even Peyton Place novelist Grace Metalious. Her probing drama, “Perfect Pie,” opened in a smolderingly passionate production by 20% Theatre Company at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage this past weekend.
This memory play, set in Marmora, Ontario, reunites two best friends from high school, now in their 30s, long after a traumatic event shattered their lives. In this staging, the adults meet in the present day. They recall their childhood and adolescent selves, played by two teen actresses, in the 1980s.
“Perfect Pie” begins with adult Patsy (Mykel Pennington) preparing a pie in her kitchen on the farm where she has always lived, anticipating the reunion with her childhood friend. She speaks into a cassette recorder expressing her feelings toward Francesca (Lisa Bol). One senses unrequited same-sex love.
We learn Francesca’s birth name was actually Marie, which she discarded after leaving Marmora, supposedly to pursue her acting career. But it was actually a way of distancing herself from a childhood of being bullied, religious persecution, physical abuse by an alcoholic mother who called her ”the town whore,” and poverty so severe she lacked enough well water for regular bathing. Francesca reflects, “you can only fight what people think of you for so long before you have to become it.”
Director Claire Avitabile has infused Thompson’s contemplative text with seething emotion. Pennington plays Patsy on the surface as a woman who settles for simplistic answers to life’s big questions but whose body language belies haunting memories.
Pennington and Bol bravely mine intimate tensions in their scenes together, but Bol should more sharply reflect the ruinous psychic residue of her upbringing.
Emily McDowell as Young Patsy and Sari Abelson as Marie are visceral joys to watch. There’s an arresting scene where Young Patsy de-lices Marie’s hair. However, their most astounding interaction occurs when Marie attempts to relate a shattering incident to Young Patsy, who in turn, lacks the maturity to fathom just what that incident entailed. Unfortunately, costume designer Renata Shaffer-Gottschalk could have distressed Marie’s dress and underskirt more to accentuate that.
Otherwise, the costumes serve the play satisfactorily as does Ursula K. Bowden’s functional scenic design and Liz Neerland’s lighting.
John Townsend is a Minneapolis writer