Director Jared Hoffert has directed a challenging and interesting production of Jonathan Marc Sherman’s one-act play “Women and Wallace” at Ann Arbor Civic Theater.
Told in roughly chronological order, the play follows Wallace, whose mother commits suicide, on his journey to adulthood (it starts with him at 6 years old in 1975, and ends with him at 18 as a college freshman in 1987). Along the way we meet his mother, grandmother, childhood girlfriends, adult girlfriends, and a psychiatrist.
Every cast member of this production is strong, starting with Elijah Cox as Wallace who delivers nuance well, but is also good at the broader comedy of the piece. The women in his life are played by Amanda Burch, Lisa Gavan, Stephanie Laurinec. Megan Shiplett, Candace Ostrander, Madison Fyke, Sophia Saks, and Lauren Goyer — each getting their moment to shine, and turning in very good performances.
Hoffert directs at a leisurely pace that is appropriate to the dramedy — this isn’t a trip that is going anywhere fast, and issues raised will clearly last into Wallace’s future long beyond the show’s end. It is simply staged with movable cubes and props as necessary. He also incorporates a fantastic blend of music — and listen for a particularly hilarious musical interlude after Wallace’s dalliance with an “older woman”.
The language use in the script is remarkable, with Sherman’s keen ear for conversation, and even unspoken moments are important here. You might like Wallace. You might despise him. But you won’t soon forget him, nor the women in his life.
You have two more opportunities to see Women and Wallace — tonight at 8:00 and tomorrow at 2:00 at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s Studio Theatre — 322 West Ann Street. Tickets are available at the door.
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