Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
In Eden, the awe-inspiring Julia McNeal gives a wonderful monologue performance that lasts at least 30 minutes, as an Irish woman in her late thirties who has been living in an Irish seacoast town caring for her dying mother. Decades before, she lived in magnificent Paris. She yearns for Paris, the city of her girlish sexual adventures, her travels, a miscarriage, and her qualms and desires. It's a breathtaking performance.
In Enter the Roar, set a month later, we meet other characters: Eva's sister Teresa (Lina Anne Porter), Eamon (Rod Gnapp), and Roisin (Amy Nowak), plus diverged priest Father O'Leary (Justin Gillman). The family is talking about Eva's distinctions. It is basically surreal, to sort out Hammond's extremely Catholic existential themes.
The third vignette play is No Coast Road, in which we see Eva thirty years later, living as a hermit in isolated Corsica. A young American hiker named Tom (Caleb Cabrera) blunders onto her campsite. Eva is an aggressive, unconventional elder who flirts with the young man.
Lina Anne Porter, Rod Gnapp, Amy Nowak, and Justin Gillman are outstanding in Enter the Roar, with spot-on Irish accents. Caleb Cabrera gives a vibrant performance as Tom, and Megan Trout goes flying through the woods as a nymph in No Coast Road. As said, Julia McNeal is absolutely brilliant as Eva.
Loretta Greco's direction is sharp and insightful.
Bottom Line: Each play in the trilogy champions its own theatrical landscape, reflecting the tremendous range of Hammond's writing. The three plays made me change my mind, question my Catholic values, and untimely touched my heart. After all, I'm Irish.
The Eva Trilogy runs through November 12, 2017, at Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd, Building D, 3rd floor, San Francisco CA. For tickets and information, call 415-441-8822 or visit www.MagicTheatre.org