Eclipse Theatre presents
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
'How is it me that gets out?' A college-bound boy contemplates his exit from the mouse race. In the finale of their 2010 'one playwright, one season' run, Eclipse Theatre presents Arthur Miller's A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS. Miller illustrates two typical Mondays at a 1930's mechanical parts shop. The work week starts in routine. Raymond worries about the boss' pending visit. Gus fondles the switchboard operators. Kenny complains about the dirty windows. Larry demands more money. Jerry and Willy boast about weekend conquests. Frankie schedules drop-offs around hook-ups. Patricia flirts. Aggie cries. Jim works. Tommy's late. When Tommy finally arrives as drunk-man- walking, the co-workers band together to rally him alert before the boss' inspection. It's one more of the many workplace rituals that keep the employees going nowhere. Burt is a temp earning money for school. He's just a cog in the machine! A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS is two glimpses at people trapped in an extra ordinary life. Both days are influenced by mundane and unique occurrences. With Arthur Miller's blueprint, Steven Fedoruk's directions, and parts perfectly cast, A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS is a well-oiled machine.
Miller reminisces about a short job stint with lifetime employees. His fourteen distinct characters are haunted by 'all that happens is there every morning.' Steven Fedoruk has recreated Miller's memoir with precision assembly of an ensemble in their typecast role. Over two Mondays, the characters change and stay the same with finality. In the lead, Brandon Rutter (Bert) is the fresh-faced, eager worker. He cheerfully arrives early with the propensity to help with any task. His college departure monologue is the kind of park statue dedication that heads nod in agreement to. From one Monday to the next, JP Pierson (Kenneth) goes from a twinkly Irish singing optimist to a rebel-rousing drunk with heartbreaking resignation. Without many words initially, Malcolm Callan (Tommy) is hilarious as an intoxicated zombie. Vincent L. Lonergan (Gus) is another transformer that goes from one extreme to the other with a pledge 'to do it right' completed. John Ruhaak (Jim) utters every absurd statement with hysterical matter-of-factness. Not only does the entire cast deliver their lines in a realness that seems unnatural, even their nonverbal cues speak volumes. Josh Venditti (Larry) brooding. Kevin Scott (Raymond) scurrying. Geraldine Duplex (Patricia) strutting. Even just Cheri Chenowith's (Aggie) makeshift leggings elicit laughs because everyone knows a quirky-fashioned coworker.
A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS is a two work day production packed tightly. Fedoruk orchestrates surprising quick paced action with a large group of employees in a colorful but small shop (Designer Mike Winkelman). Two slapstick scenes, with a drunk and a mouse, are chaotically comedic. A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS is a job well-done!
My parents had their own glowing reviews of this show but when limited to three words, Mom: "blew me away" and Dad: "sad but hopeful."
Production photos courtesy of Scott Cooper.