Sunday, January 08, 2017


This afternoon it was the play "Dot" up at Everyman Theater in Baltimore. I went knowing zero about this play. My only criteria? I wanted to include a show at Everyman Theater in my season and way back in early September at my very first show "Urinetown" at Constellation Theater, the lovely woman I perchanced to sit next to mentioned that she was really looking forward to seeing it again. These two things really paid off! The show was the best contemporary theater I've seen all year.

 Unfortunately when you go on the final weekend of the show, you get the second run programs all in black & white...which would constitute the only disappointing thing about the entire show!

The next two photos I snapped from my seat, which explains there smart phone quality!--but also you are looking at the same stage minus about 1/3 of the other stage which was also part of the previous and subsequent sets.  My explanation my be confusing, but the sets weren't!

Again, I feel compelled to say a word or two more about the sets--they were stunning down to every detail, burnt eggs on the stove and running water in the sink. I tried to get a pic at the beginning of the act one rooms and then again at intermission after the switch to the act two rooms, and here's was happened: the stage slid left and 1/2 of the first set slipped apart and disappeared, while on the opposite side the other half of the dinning room and a living room with stairs to the second floor arrived and was completed on the right. Not only was it ingenious, but rock solid and fascinating to watch deconstruct-shift-construct before our eyes.

The story is that of a trio of siblings coming to terms with their mother's progressing Alzheimer's. To date the burden has fallen upon the oldest daughter, but it's Christmas and everyone is coming home for the holidays. It's time for Shelly to force the issue with younger brother, Donnie and his husband Adam, and wild-child Averie, the baby in the family. Toss in Donnie's pre-coming out teenage girlfriend, Jackie, who shows up unexpected, still unmarried and pregnant, and Fidel, a young man from Kazakhstan seeking political asylum who provides occasional day company for Dotty--well, you have all the makings for a class A comedy! And that's what you get woven beautifully against the back drop of the seriousness of Alzheimer's. It's a show that makes a lot of promises and then delivers. Anchored by the performance of Sharon Hope who brings not simply the confusion and despair of the disease, but also the humanity--without which the play would have been nothing. Add to this the genuine frustration and friendship of family that the three grown children bring to the show and kudos to Dawn Ursula (Shelly), Yaegel T. Welch (Donnie) and Paige Hernandez (Averie). All the members of the cast were wonderful and the comedy was as spontaneous and heartfelt as the pathos. By the time I send this out the audience will be assembling for the final performance--I know they are in for a treat.
 Older sister, Shelly (Dawn Ursula) and newly pregnant childhood friend, Jackie (Megan Anderson) catching up after Jackie's surprise return. Both of these actors are members of the reparatory company and both were in last spring's production of "A Streetcar Named Desire". Additionally, Dawn had the role of the Angel in Roundhouse Theater's production of "Angels In America: Millennium Approaches & Perestroika" that I saw back in October.
 Dotty (Sharon Hope) sharing family photos with her Day sitter, Fidel (Ryan Carlo Dalusung). Sharon was amazing!
 Donnie (Yaegel T. Welch) and his husband, Adam (Rob Jansen), arrive Christmas Eve morning. Jansen also teaches at the University of Maryland.
 Baby sister, Averie (Paige Hernandez) and little brother, Donnie get lost momentarily in memory of getting down!
 But there comes a moment when everyone realizes that Dotty's situation is serious...
Shelly comes to terms with her anger and frustration with her mother personally.
The show ends with everyone awaiting the Christmas morning arrival of the grandson from bed (none physical role), and Dot steps away with her box of memories to be captured by a circle of light. Very effective.

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