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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 18 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 42
They'll be your mirror - New company's first play puts strong female characters in the forefront
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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They'll be your mirror - New company's first play puts strong female characters in the forefront

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

MIRROR IMAGES
PLAYWRIGHTS' THEATRE
(at Stone Soup Theatre)
Through October 26


A new company is producing a new play by a local playwright. Playwrights' Theatre is producing Mirror Images by Scott Timmons, and it boasts a quartet of fine female talent. Refreshingly, Timmons is able to craft dialogue that reflects feelings that women feel and dialogue that sounds like women really talking to each other. That is not always the case with male writers. In our society, even female writers often know their male characters better than their female ones, given how much of our culture reflects male focus and understanding.

Laura's (Caitlin Frances) father has just died and she and her mother Anna (Maureen Hawkins), Anna's best friend Ellen (Margaret Bicknell), and Laura's friend Becky (Erin Ison), have just returned to Anna's home from the funeral. As their conversation progresses, we immediately understand that there are secrets being kept.

Anna has a small chest that Laura has never seen the inside of. Anna also has never shared almost any of her life growing up in Germany before she emigrated to the United States. Laura also has a secret: Becky is more than a good friend. Laura, egged on by Becky, investigates items in the chest, where there are a couple of German-language newspaper clippings and a picture of Anna with another man.

There are aspects of the plot that ought not to be disclosed in a review, but Anna's history is revealed to be connected, as almost every German family was, to the Nazis and World War II, and it becomes a little more understandable that Anna did not want to talk about that period of her life. That history may be one that many families, particularly those of German ancestry, don't wish to examine. Even today, what our parents and grandparents did during that war still resonates.

SILENT GENERATIONS
The parallel mystery has to do with why Laura feels she has to keep her Lesbianism a secret both from her mother and from her work. However, it's also understandable, even now, why many professionals in high executive-type positions might think it would jeopardize all they have worked for if they were to come out.

The main pleasure is watching all these women work together - demonstrating their affection for each other, their friendships, their family relationships. The plot points are a bit on the obvious side, so the mystery is not very mysterious, but that doesn't much detract from the production. Zachariah Robinson, the co-founder of the company and director of the play, manages the timing and the slow reveals with unobtrusive deftness. He directs with a light hand, and the play proceeds simply, without fuss.

He gets able assistance from technical staff. The set, by John Clark, is quite meticulous - a closet interior that the audience can see when open is full of appropriate closet things. He created a modest but graceful living-room set with faux stone and tasteful d├ęcor. Age-appropriate costuming from Savannah Baltazar gives each character her style, and lighting by Gwyn Skone and sound by John Epperson are subtle supports.

All in all, it's a good maiden voyage, and a pleasure to see four strong women characters on stage. For more information, go to www.playwrights-theatre.org or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/437373, or call 1-800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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