Review: ‘Sealed for Freshness’ is wild, crazy theater
April 4, 2013
The comedy "Sealed for Freshness" is a visit to the year 1968. Not the 1968 of political activism, women's liberation and individual choice but instead a visit to a Tupperware party attended by five seemingly 1950s-era women. These are women who believe their roles should be as good housewives, spouses and mothers. However, their reality is otherwise, and that's both the comedy and the pathos that ricochets sharply throughout the play as the five women reveal their underlying identities and true feelings.
Written by Doug Stone and produced by Quest Theaterworks (formerly known as Ewing Ventures), "Sealed for Freshness" has much laugh-out-loud humor, but some is coarse and even rude. So be forewarned, this play isn't for the straight-laced. In fact, there is one extended scene about giving birth that the playwright, in my humble opinion, could have deleted to the benefit of the play. That said, I laughed heartily at much of the sarcastic give and take between the characters. The dialogue is clever, incisive and mostly rings true for the various individuals.
The party hostess is Bonnie (Kathleen Ames), and her husband, who has only a small part, is Richard (Kevin Freeman). The other women at the party are Jean (Kimberly Ewing), who is married to a rich man; Jean's sister, Sinclair (Lois Ewing), grossly pregnant with her fifth child; Tracy Ann (Madeleine Fournier), who is a trophy wife; and Diane (Karen Leigh Sharp), the Tupperware regional representative whose husband has "passed."
The ensemble works very well together, and the actresses quite believable in their roles. Of particular note is the spot-on performance of Lois Ewing as the acid-tongued Sinclair–many of her zinging comments, while often less than kind, are hilarious. Her ponderous physical movement captures her character's unhappiness and discomfort with her humongous belly. The smiling, mincing presentation of Diane, nicely played by Sharp, is both funny and pathetic, especially once her secret is revealed.
The venue for this play is the Oddfellows Hall in Grass Valley, and director Shawnna Frazer utilizes the space within the theater area well and fills it with period-appropriate props.
Her actors are never static so that the flow of the action runs smoothly, keeping the audience's attention, and the physical comedy increases the laugh quotient. But this play, although humorous, also vividly illuminates those doubts and quandaries that all people, and particularly women, suffer.
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I recommend this play, running through April 14, for its laughs, angst and truths. It's definitely not just about buying plastic containers.
Hindi Greenberg recommends going to see this play because it's well done, but also to check out the Oddfellows Hall at 113 S. Church St.. What a unique venue with a lot of character!