Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Rosemary and I
Also see Tracy's review of Oh, Coward!
Memories are funny things. They can be painful intruders or gentle friends. In the case of Julia in Rosemary and I, they are tools that help her come to realizations about herself and her family. Currently running at MetroStage, this one act memory play explores the impact a parent can have on a child.
The Rosemary mentioned in the title is Julia's mother. Julia recalls her mother through the personal items left in a handbag. As Julia remembers, she becomes the playwright and her parents become her characters. She starts with Rosemary. In her younger years Rosemary was a concert singer. She is A vivacious woman with just a hint of diva in her. Julia's father is simply called Papa. Papa is the direct opposite of his wife. He is a formal person and above else he is very "tidy."
There is another character in Julia's story. It is Elizabeth. Elizabeth was her mother's best friend and accompanist. She was also quite possibly her lover. Julia also takes a role in her "play" as she remembers times from her early childhood to her adulthood.
Leslie Ayvazian wears two hats in this production. She is both author and actor. Ayvazian has written a lovely play. Those who saw her previous show at MetroStage know how descriptive her writing can be. Such is the case in Rosemary and I. Ayvazian paints a vivid picture that captures one's attention. In her role as actor, Ayvazian's portrayal of Julia is rather intense but she tempers that intensity with some well placed humor.
Judith Roberts is simply elegant as Rosemary. She successfully conveys a myriad of sides to this complex woman while always retaining an engaging smile. As her husband, Sam Groom does a wonderful job of portraying a stiff but loving father. Rounding out the group is Jewell Robinson who plays Elizabeth. She delivers a convincing performance as Rosemary's doting companion. The actors are joined on stage by vocalist Bet Williams and her accompanist John Hodian. Together, they create a gorgeous sound.
The play is co-directed by Olympia Dukakis and Nancy Robillard. They do a good job of bring balance to a script that goes in so many different directions. Additionally, the show is served well by the impressive lighting created by Chris Lee and the simple set by James Kronzer.
There is so much packed into this 70 minute play and much like life, it goes by fast. Also, in life it helps to know where you have been in order to get where you need to go. Rosemary and I illustrates that very well. Rosemary and I runs through May 9th.
Julia: Leslie Ayvazian