ELEMENO PEA. Written by Molly Smith Metzler; directed by Samantha Vakiener. Produced by Misfits Theater CompanyMisfits Theater Compan (Performed at the VooDoo Comedy Playhouse, 1260 22nd St., Denver) through June 5. Tickets available at the door or at www.misfitstheater.com.
This new company proves to its audience that all you need to create a winning theater performance is a strong script and (in this case) five talented actors dedicated to telling the story. The space this cast is working in is barely adequate but they work around that. The set was supposed to be a luxurious beachside guest house and frankly falls short, but they work around that too. The costumes probably came from the actors’ closets—except for the “salmon” pants worn by the lone male character.
But none of that matters because the story is so compelling and the dialogue so natural, with no superfluous subplots to get in your way. Two sisters from the same gene pool and nurturing background have ended up in very different places in their lives. They have planned a “sisters’ weekend” to reconnect. From the beginning, however, it is obvious that this is going to be more difficult than anticipated. There are deep-seated resentments on both sides for perceived slights and impositions by each sister.
Devon is living at home with their mother after giving up career and lifestyle to pursue an online romance that didn’t work out. Simone has sold her soul to the gods of greed to live in the rarefied air of her employer, Michaela, a pampered trophy wife. The walls come tumbling down and illusions are shattered for all three of these characters as life-changing events unfold on this doomed weekend. The other characters who contribute to the chaos are the household maintenance woman Jos-B and Ethan, Simone’s the rich but unreliable fiancé.
Emily Tuckman as Devon presents a down-to-earth, mature individual who—while she doesn’t like where she is in life—has accepted her mistakes, is able to avoid the temptations of money, and just wants to spend time with her sister. Simone as played by Elizabeth Kirchmeier is caught between the rock of her delusions about her position within her employer’s “family” and the hard place of realizing the truth as revealed by her sister’s unflinching take on reality. Suzanne Nepi, the beleaguered Micheala, manages to make this spoiled, casually arrogant “real housewife” into a sympathetic woman whose carefully calculated life is falling apart. It is in her downfall that we discover her strength. Amy Luna’s character Jos-B (pronounced Hosebee) is delightful comic relief, even though her accent is so thick sometimes that it is difficult to understand. Ethan, the lone male in the cast (Troy Coleman), loves his role as supposed mediator when he is actually looking out for himself. His truest moment is when he describes his wonder at discovering the simplicity and goodness of Simone. We can only hope that this relationship will work out, but with shallowness on one side and duplicity on the other, it seems unlikely.
Only two more performances before this one goes away. It’s still plenty of time to welcome a new theater company to town.
WOW factor: 8.5