|left o right: Kate Ayers, Alayna Chamberland, Kim Holm|
|from left: Kim Holm,
- · Amanda Stevens is “The Woman Who Plays Records” and believes she is the wife of Mozart
- · Kim Holm is “The Woman in Safari Outfit” who believes she is explorer Osa Johnson (her outfit looks like Teddy Roosevelt)
- · Kate Ayers is “Woman with Notebook”; i.e. Gertrude Stein
- · Vanessa Postil is “Girl in Gossamer Dress” or silent film star Pearl White
- · Cheyenne Logan is the “Woman in Aviatrix Outfit,” aka Amelia Earhart
- · Priscilla Zal is the “Woman in Queenly Garb,” aka Queen Isabella I of Spain
- · Alayna Chamberland is the “Woman in Armor” who thinks she is Joan of Arc
- · and Debbie Sampson is “Woman with Gavel” or Susan B. Anthony.
Opening night Heather Christopher filled in for Zal in the role of Queen Isabella. I’m moved to comment on her performance even though she is not slated for subsequent shows. She enters the room with help in a catatonic state with red-rimmed eyes and a haunted stare and mouths silent words non-stop until she explodes with madness.
Holm is over-the-top wild in her energetic performance as the explorer.
Perhaps the most believable, painful and humorous portrayal of insanity comes from Stevens, who constantly moves her fingers as if playing an instrument and has countless tics and quirks, and a wild, upswept hairdo. She also gets an opportunity to display her operatic voice in song.
Ayers’ obsessiveness and her halted, sing-song way of talking is a spot-on lampoon of Stein, and strange enough to be funny to people who are unfamiliar with Stein’s work.
Postil’s “Girl in Gossamer Dress” is supposed to be a beauty, and she certainly comes with all the physical attributes augmented by a blonde wig and the sheer white dress, and she plays the part in a manner that walks a tightrope between madness and sanity.
Chamberland’s Joan of Arc is outrageously funny. She enters with a classical bit about trying to squeeze a big white wooden cross through the door, and throughout the play she engages in an ongoing war with the voices in her head. With the face shield that she keeps opening and closing and other problems with her armor she brings to mind the knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Simpson plays Susan B. Anthony, the leader of the women’s ward, with dignity.
Rocco and Michael Christopher turn in solid performances as the only men in this women’s play.
Nobody is credited in the program for hair, makeup and costuming, so the assumption must be these were a joint effort by cast and crew. They did an excellent job.
Chamber Music is a dark and disturbing farce. I am still ambiguous in my assessment of the script, but I greatly admire the work of the entire cast.
Tickets: $12.00. Available at door night of show or online at href="www.brownpapertickets.com" target="_blank">brownpapertickets.com