Friday, March 10, 2006

Seven Rabbits on a Pole

From: "will stackman"

Subject: Quicktake - "Seven Rabbits on a Pole" by John C. Picardi

Date: Thur, Mar 9, 11:22 PM


     The second of John Picardi's proposed ten plays exploring Italian-Americans in Massachusetts during the decades of the last century is having its New England premiere at Stoneham. The evening is long on plot and somewhat stereotypical as far as character goes, but director Robert Jay Cronin guides his skilled cast through the storyline for a satisfying if somewhat melodramatic show. The most notable performances are by the ladies, IRNE-winner Cheryl McMahon and Stoneham regular Robyn Eizabeth Lee. McMahon uses her comic skills gently to humanize the WASP neighbor of this Italian farm family growing vegetables near Wollaston beach. Lee, who's been seen mostly as an ingenue, stands out playing the "simple" daughter, Julia, an autistic young woman yearning for love. The men of the family, Barry M. Press as patriarch Enio, sturdy older brother Peter, and Robert Antonelli as college-educated Lawrence are far more stereotyped, limited by expository writing and predictable action from developing unique characters. Timothy J. Smith, seen as the Narrator in "A Prayer for Owen Meany" has the much more interesting part of Q. Turner, a Detroit area autoworker who's left his family back on the farm to come East looking for work. He arrives peddling rabbits he's caught in the Blue Hills. He stays because he might be able to fix the tractor.

     This full length drama, which might be more comfortably divided into three acts instead of two, is presented with Stoneham's usual flair, including a striking selective realism farmyard designd by Charlie Wilson and careful period costuming by Rachel Kurland-Foxglove. One can only hope that Picardi's next play(s) are better structured, and perhaps that this one, already published might be reworked.

"Seven Rabbits on a Pole" by John C. Picardi, Mar. 2 - 19

Stoneham Theatre

539 Main St. Stoneham, (781) 279 - 2200
Stoneham Theatre