A Doll’s House

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The world of local theater is plush these days. For the next couple of weeks you can see a vintage A.R. Gurney play, CRAZY MARY, a superb Ibsen epic, A DOLL’S HOUSE, and a raucous comedy that I had never seen before called THE CEMETERY CLUB. I think any one of them is worth your time, and seeing all three is a real kick. Consider what fun it can be to catch three diverse, but all interesting, plays in a row.

The Naples Players have pulled off a very delightful, witty, urbane and serious A. R. Gurney comedy. CRAZY MARY is about a family member locked up in a fancy private “asylum.” It’s said, “Every family has a black sheep.” The plot thickens. There is money involved, an estate left to the inmate, but a distant relative wants what’s locked up with her. Gurney writes it with a unique flair for melodrama. The cast doesn’t have a bad performance in it, and the whole evening is quite entertaining. CRAZY MARY plays until April 17th. Shows are 8 pm Wed-Sat nights and 2 pm Sunday matinees. The box office number is 263-7990. The Tobye Studio theater is small. Seats go fast. Don’t delay. Call now.

The second of our three plays is THE CEMETERY CLUB and it’s out on Cape Coral, at the Cultural Park Theatre Company. The play, written by Ivan Menchell, could have been one of Neil Simon’s, judging by the riotous one liners that exploded all evening.

THE CEMETERY CLUB is about three delightfully different Jewish widows who meet once a month to pay their respects to their dead husbands interred at the same cemetery. Their delightful differences unfold. One of them is totally content to live out the rest of her life without a partner, without the complications of relationship. The second, a merry widow full of fire with the hot- to- trot mentality that provides most of the laughs. The third is a tender, maybe more sensitive widow, who just isn’t sure about what she wants. Enter a man, and the conflicts and laughs develop delightfully.

Anne Palmer, the director, got marvelous performances out of everyone. She knows how to use physical humor and how to milk the funny lines to their fullest. The audience loved every minute and I urge you to get out to Cape Coral before it closes. THE CEMETERY CLUB runs until April 4th, evenings at 8 pm. There are Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 pm. Call the box office at 772-5862. Already some performances are sold out, so don’t delay, and brace yourself for a delightful laugh-fest evening with the widows.

The third play is clearly what superb theater is supposed to be. GULFSHORE PLAYHOUSE, brings us Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE , a brilliantly written play, and a production marvelously directed by Kristen Coury with a cast of extremely competent Equity actors.

Many of you may have seen A DOLL’S HOUSE during your long life as an avid theater goer. The play, written 130 years ago has enormous contemporary, feminist power in every scene. It was truly enthralling to sit in that audience and watch it unfold. It doesn’t allow you to just there passively or indifferently. GULFSHORE’S production is one you will not want to miss. And the ride home in the car will be full of questions like, “When have you behaved the way he did?” Or “Would you have done what she did?” “Why, and how, and when?”

The set was designed by Robert F. Wollin, and it was perfect. Jamie Carmichael was the properties master, doing it so well, that the whole stage crackled with authenticity for the period and for the moods and tempers of the play. Congratulations to all concerned in making A DOLLS HOUSE the thrilling theatrical experience it was.

The play runs through April 11th. Don’t miss out on this one. Call the box office at 866-811-4111, or order online at: www.GULFSHOREPLAYHOUSE. ORG

I’d love to hear how many of you caught all three of these plays during this Plush Season of Local Theater. Write me at: [email protected]