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St. Louis by Richard Green

Finding the Sun
Clayton Community Theatre

Also see Richard's review of The Parade

Finding the Sun
Beth Hill, Jamie Lefkowith, Julie Jones and Rob Gold
Edward Albee's 1982 seaside sex comedy is too short, at about 45 minutes, to stand alone, and very lucky to be on a bill here with Tennessee Williams' The Parade. Brimming with talent on stage in four pairs of beach chairs, the Albee play burbles along, twisted just-so, with his usual withering commentary. And, coming after Williams' much simpler one-act (with a tormented gay author at its center), Finding the Sun makes a bright, modern contrast to the earlier piece, from the 1940s.

Sam Hack directs both, with an especially solid cast in the Albee piece, centering on a slow-dying love affair between two young men who've since gone on to marry (inadvertently) hilarious young women. All four go uphill and down in their coping skills, toward a peaceful resolution to the husbands' youthful indiscretion (for that is the way the relationship is treated by most on this beach). Jim Driscoll and Rob Gold are the two young men: Mr. Driscoll (as Benjamin) is the pound-puppy, and Mr. Gold (as Daniel), the ornery house-cat. Sigi Gradwohl and Julie Jones are the wives, the first being well-matched with Mr. Driscoll, being humorously down-trodden; and the latter, visually stunning and just as prickly as Mr. Gold.

Nathan Weissler is the quick-to-learn teenager, getting a lot more education than he'd bargained for during a summer by the shore. Jamie Lefkowith is his mother, with a slightly hectic conversational style that plays well against her bemused neighbor in the beach chairs, Beth Hill. She's the long-suffering mother of the willful young Amazon (Ms. Jones), voicing weary exasperation with her daughter's decision to marry someone with an awkward gay relationship, barely receding into the past. With the estimable Bruce Collins as her husband, the whole cast is remarkably adept at delivering the complex and occasionally acrid Albee comedy.

Taken together, Finding the Sun and Williams' The Parade (or, Approaching the End of a Summer) form a remarkable look at the evolution of gay identity on the stage in America, their settings separated by forty years between them. Both continue through April 5, 2009 at the South Campus of Washington University. The space is better known as the former campus of CBC high school, across Clayton Road from the Esquire Theater. For more information call (314) 721-9228 or visit them online at www.placeseveryone.org.

Cast
Abigail: Sigi Gradwohl
Benjamin: Jim Driscoll
Cordelia: Julie Jones
Daniel: Rob Gold
Edmee: Jamie Lefkowith
Fergus: Nathan Weissler
Gertrude: Beth Hill
Henden: Bruce Collins

Crew
Director: Sam Hack
Assistant Director and Stage Manager: Nieccole Hilliard
Set Designer: Anna Christy
Props: Marilyn Albert-Hack
Costumes: Sonia Beard
Lighting Designer: Nathan Schroeder
Producer: Nada Vaughn
Sound and Lighting: Laureen ruben, Jeanne Harvey


Photo: John C. Lamb


-- Richard T. Green

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