CAUTION: This play will have you wondering if you should reuse tea bags and store household items in various, unrelated containers. The cluttered set, that looked like it was based on a scene from Hoarders, was rightfully sectioned off with caution tape. At first, I wondered if that was for the audience’s or the actor’s safety. Once the show started it became apparent that the characters had more to worry about than tripping over too much junk.
We first meet dear Opal (Alana Caraccio) as she carries out her daily routine with as much eccentricity as one woman who loves to layer, collect junk, and sing about driftwood can muster. Even though this woman may seem to have a few screws loose, we watch her fiddle with some contraptions that look as though they took some skill to make. We’re also introduced to Opal’s faithful feline companion, Mister Tanner, who seems to be the more grounded one in the group.
Soon, a trio of unique conniving characters are thrown in to really set the play in motion. Each member of this gang is so different, you really start to wonder how they found each other. There’s the Marilyn Monroesque, Gloria (Jennifer Smith) whose short blonde hair, designer-like wardrobe, and Hollywood dreams makes her the perfect naive front woman. It seems the real brains behind the operation come from Bradford (Glenn Kraft), with his high-end vocabulary, college professor ensemble, and smart-ass sense of humor. Then we meet Solomon (Joseph Perignat), the big boss man in his fancy fur and authoritative air who talks a big, mob-boss-like game, but there’s something hiding beneath the boisterousness.
The cast is rounded out by two, real genuine characters, Officer Joe (Matthew Thompson) and the Doctor (Tom McFarland). Both become intertwined with the craziness and take it in stride.
Individually, each actor truly embodies their character, making it easy to believe this story. Once all characters start to interact we see the real talent of each actor playing off the other’s strengths. This cast works so well together, that all the audience has to do is get lost in their interactions, laugh at their plans as they backfire, and believe that good can conquer evil.
In addition to the stellar acting, some “special effects” of the show seemed successful for an opening night. In hindsight, it could have gone a lot worse, but the set-up and coordination of pulleys, ramps, and trap doors was pretty impressive. The only thing that may have made it seamless was the actors’ reactions to what was happening. It felt like they were holding their breath for things to go off without a hitch. Some delayed reactions to the dilemma was the only thing that dimmed the magic.
Props must be given to the Stage Managers and Prop Master (Jesse Roy and Kim O’Byrne Rozman) for the organization and wrangling of the multitude of items on set. If the countless number of knickknacks already on stage wasn’t enough, audience members are invited to bring a small “treasure” with them to the show. One item will be selected to grace the stage for that performance, and the owner will receive a free ticket to another T&C show for this season.
EVERYBODY LOVES OPAL
by John Patrick
Directed by Ken Weigert
May 10-25, 2013s
Town and Country Players
4158 York Rd.
Buckingham, PA 18912