^
Keep Houston Press Free
4
| Stage |

Sonia and Suzy's Story Needs an Arc

The Setup: A two-actor play challenges the performers to hold the audience's interest, without an eccentric uncle suddenly entering to spice things up. Sonia and Suzy, a new work by Nancy Geyer, takes on this challenge, as Suzy, an adopted daughter in her early 20s, meets her birth mother Sonia for the first time.

The Execution: Such a situation suggests awkwardness, misunderstandings, anger, recriminations and guilt, and these are played out in seven vignettes as the pair meets intermittently, months or years apart. This leads necessarily to exposition, and we are told about the changes in Suzy's young life (a lot happens), rather than experiencing them with her. We learn less about Sonia, a stage actress, except that she is wealthy and hasn't made it in Hollywood. The two never really get to know one another - in each meeting, they greet each other almost as strangers. The play thus has narrative, but no arc.

While the situation is potentially interesting, there are subsidiary issues that are less so. Medical issues arise as often as on a House TV marathon, and we learn more than we care to know about Suzy's adoptive parents. These medical events seem perilously close to "filler" material. Suzy is played by Jennifer Bassett Dean, who brings energy and skill to the part. In Act One, however, her hair styling covers most of her face -- it's like watching her through Venetian blinds. Josephine John plays the birth mother, and she's attractive enough to make us believe she could be a leading lady. But she remains with no inner passion throughout the play; in fact, she's close to stilted, as though connecting to her lines rather than to her daughter. Director Claire Hart-Palumbo keeps events proceeding smoothly, and minor set changes are handled adroitly. The set, by John Stevens, works wonders to delineate separate playing areas, and the lighting, by Sallye Johnson, illuminates them beautifully.

(Through January 29. Country Playhouse Black Box, 12802 Queensbury, 713-467-4497.)

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.