Sunday, July 31, 2011

Theatre review: "The Mistakes Madeline Made" from No Name Players. Sunday 31st July 2011

I have no idea about what playwright Elizabeth Meriwether is trying to tell us in her short play The Mistakes Madeline Made and no idea why No Name Players decided to invest time and talent to it. The only thing that becomes clear is that director Marci Woodruff and her cast perform this possibly deliberately absurd material with realistic sincerity and skill, even if I’m not sure if that’s the best or only choice. Certainly the set has a lot of substance.

Characteristically, as with so many semi-professional groups, nothing in the program says anything about the most essential person of this play, the writer. But I learned from Wikipedia that Meriwether wrote this in 2006 along with Heddatron and Oliver Parker! in 2010 as well as the screenplay for this year’s romantic comedy film No Strings Attached and has been grouped with "The Fempire" a group of female screenwriters.

The focus is on Edna, who hates her job as part of the home office staff of very wealthy family. Wilson is on the staff and, seemingly a mental case, delights in creating sound effects and incessantly babbling. Edna continually drops off into her past as a college student when her visiting brother Buddy, a war correspondent, spent much time in an empty bathtub. Since his death,Edna hasn’t bathed and gravitates to sex with writers. Also seemingly central is an obsession with Handi Wipes.

As for the title, it too seems more obscure than meaningful. It’s a reference to a short passage read aloud from a book by Dr. Joyce Brothers. I guess overall that Meriwether is trying to say something about contemporary women. And, I’m sure that, if you want to spend time and energy attending this and pondering it subsequently you might discover more merit in the experience than I did.

The Mistakes Madeline Made is at the Studio Theater in the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh through August 13th. Tickets at : ShowClix 1-888-71-TICKETS which is the same as 1 -888-718-4253. Info:

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