Outstanding performances make the unpalatable subject of rape and revenge compelling. Jess Stinson anchors the play with her strong, emotional portrayal of Marjorie, a woman who is, perhaps, more threatening than threatened when power changes hands. A menacing and manipulative Raul (Stephen Travers) launches Marjorie’s hellish day the moment he walks, uninvited, through the front door. Travers is terrifying, wheedling, sympathetic and ultimately pathetic and does a fantastic job of carrying the audience through every mood.
Supporting Stinson and Travers, Andrea Ong appears as housemate Terry. Ong makes Terry’s denial of what is going on in her own living room a touch point for the audience. It is clear that Terry would rather be anywhere else. On the flip side, Patricia (Jillian Bossman) is eager to be the problem solver and struggles to contain and direct manic Marjorie, disconnected Terry, and calculating Raul. The highly charged situation resolves itself when uncredited fifth player, humanity, creeps into the room.
This is a production to be enjoyed for the quality of the performances. The script takes turns that don’t always feel logical. Throughout the show, audience members whispered suggestions to each other about what they would do in that situation. The choices the characters make seem odd at times though the actors do an excellent job of selling them. Let us hope that none of us is ever in a position where we have to deal with rape, and its aftermath.
EXTREMITIES is directed by Cindy Nagle Walton and runs through February 4th. All shows at 8pm. Spotlight Theater, Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Ave, Swarthmore, PA 19081 (610) 328-1079
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