On Friday evening I had been afforded the honor of attending opening night of the playBrewed written by Scott T. Barsotti, and Directed by Steven Wilson.  This production, performed by the No Name Players at the Off The Wall Theater in Carnegie, PA, presented an intriguing look into the powerful dynamics, loyalties, stressors, and the potential for tragedy that can come about when six sisters are reunited. Family, at the best of times, can cause tremendous conflict, but toss in powerful women, obstinate personalities, and a we bit of the magic and you, no doubt, have the perfect recipe for disaster.

The play, details the reunification of six sisters who at last are all reunited after two of the sisters had left home to explore the world and themselves.  One of the sisters, Roxette, complicates matters by bringing her newest love interest Lee into the mix.  Nanette, a strong hearted woman defies traditional female roles; she has broken into Nascar racing, becoming a successful female driver. Now, after a time pursuing her dreams, she returns home to visit the sisters she had left behind.  You see Paulette, Juliette, and Collette remained at home and struggled with the responsibility of taking care of their sister, Babette, who happens to be an amputee.  Furthermore, a large crucible sits in the middle of the house that contains a concoction that must be continually stirred or Babette will die.  The brew in the cauldron has apparently been magically enamored by the sisters’ necromantic parents.  The conflict, as detailed, would be enough on their own without the magic, but in its totality we get to watch as the suspense builds until ultimate tragedy occurs.

As so often can be the case, there are many actors and actresses who perform admirably, but their just can never be enough room to pay reverence to them all.  There are however some standout performance that mandate mention.  Babette as played by Tressa Glover won me over in an instant; I honestly felt her disturbed mind as she played the part to perfection.  At times I almost forgot that I watched a play and an actor. She mesmerized me that night, and I thank her for convincing me that something twitched within her mind.

Paulette as played by Sol Crespo made the audience laugh as did I. She refused to allow the concoction brewed within the cauldron to stop being stirred. She slaved over it relentless in her efforts. She firmly believes that Babette’s existence depends upon it.

Apparently, the six sisters have a tradition of issuing challenges and then going head to head: one winner and one loser. These battles were tightly choreographed, and without question, a surprise.  Fighting women, definitely break the traditional barriers and Paulette/Sol seemed to hold hegemony as the toughest of the brood, and are always ready to scrap if required.  The audience shed a gasp of surprise as the first struggle unfolded, but soon accepted it as the norm.

And then we met Roxette as played by Kelly Trumbull.  From the moment she hit the stage she began breaking the barriers; she loved gadgets and machinery.  She explained how she always had been tinkering away with machines and devices, and furthermore developed an acumen for such works. As for her skills with devices, well, she reached her crescendo when she combined her technological prowess with anatomy to bring her girlfriend, Lee, back to life, more or less. More or less?  I will leave that for you to decide, and to perhaps intrigue you enough to force you to see the play.  The audience will never forget that she creates a miracle for her sister Babette as well.  Safe to say that Kelly did a stupendous job in her role and performance.

All of the players did quite the job at keeping us entertained.  There were laughs, and drama, and suspense that needed cut with a sharp knife. In the end, the play gave us a look into the typical dysfunction of the family, and twisted it with the shattering of traditional female roles.  Stereotypes be damned.  If you get the chance to take in this play do so.  The players do a fantastic job, and the twists and turns are varied.

Brewed continues at Off the Wall until July 11th. Tickets and more information can be found at the No Name Players’ website here.

Performance Date: Friday, June 26, 2015

Categories: Archived Reviews

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