(North Las Vegas Cheyenne Campus College of Southern Nevada) is a
“costumer’s-delight” as well as a solid production of timeless,
daring, social satire, set during the Great Depression of 1936,
depicting women’s marriage, love, birthing and image issues, struggles
and triumphs, with an all female cast: Rebecca Ryes as Mary,
Ginger A. Lanier as Edith, Cynthia M. Dobek as Nancy, Alysa
Grimes as Peggy, Stephanie Reynolds as Sylvia, Cathy Ostertag
as Miriam, Helen Okonski as Mrs. Morehead, Dawn Merritt as Olga,
Cassi McGuire as Countess de Lage, Willene Watkins as Lucy, Vanessa
Ragalado as Jane, Asia Pitts as Crystal Allen and Isabella Baker
as Little Mary with additional walk-ons and multiple-parts actors.
Exquisite, period-specific, perfectly designed costumes in rich
colors, textures and range by Nancy Hardy. Truly Amazing couture of
about 60 different pieces carefully accessorized.
Lighting was keen and filled the simple stylized set nicely. Set
changes were smooth and covered by period music.
This space is “live” (echoes) and it was hard to catch a lot of words
swallowed by acoustics.
I must caution all actors to remember to pronounce the endings of
words and not drop consonants (p, t, d, b especially). CrisP
pronunciation is key to your craft. Projection is not a replacement
for that. Also, high-pitched voices speaking rapidly evoke “chipmunks”
or Minnie Riperton squeak-voice; definitely not as effective as lower
register. Excited passages need to avoid the “screamer” effect.
Actors were evenly adept, expressive and showed fleshed-out characters
including a child-actress who seemed very comfortable on stage.
Overall, I was pleased to see natural acting and very little
Much of Luce’s famously acid wit — “No good deed goes unpunished,”
“Widowhood is a fringe benefit of marriage,” “A hospital is no place
to be sick” — can be traced back to her days as a wealthy young
divorcee. In the 1930s she became a caption writer at Vogue and Vanity
Fair. She not only edited the works of such great humorists as P. G.
Wodehouse and Corey Ford, but contributed many comic pieces of her
own, signed and unsigned. Her humor, which she retained into old age,
was a saving grace that ameliorated the ruthlessness with which she
pursued publicity and political power. An interesting aside: during
her second term in political office, Luce was instrumental in the
creation of the Atomic Energy Commission!
She dared write a play dealing with the deep inner thoughts of women’s
lives, and explored topics that were hush-hush during her time. Her
own experience of divorce served as a basis for this piece.
In 1936 some reviewers were appalled by cat-fight gossip script
content — “…best-bred hellcats and social filth mongers dressed up
in ‘ermined smut…’” Today this seems quaint yet relevant.
This is a rare production and only a few more shows left:
Friday Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Nov. 17, 2 p.m.
702-651-5483 Box Office
$12 adults/$10 students & seniors 60+
The theatre is on Campus Drive off 3200 Cheyenne.
Look for the neon marquee.