Three different monologues. Three distinct characters. One funeral home. “Three Viewings” showcases Emil (Elliott O’Brien), Mac (Kauleen Cloutier) and Virginia (Lynne Martin-Huber) separately as they talk about their worlds at the time of some duress. Never on stage together but casual references during their solos identify participants at the funeral home that weave and thread into the other monologues.
Tell-Tale features Emil, a mortician who has provided his services to the community for some time. As a shrewd business man, he’s always surveying those people paying their respects, musing about who might be the next person to die. He’s enamored with a real estate agent who attends all community funerals specifically to garner potential customers. In the not-too-distant future, Emil will be shocked by the next corpse requiring his services.
In The Thief of Tears Mac is back in town for her grandmother’s funeral. She makes her living stealing jewelry from corpses and this profession has kept her relatively solvent for some time. She doesn’t like her grandmother and feels no guilt about her plans to remove a ring from her corpse. She will soon have to face situations in her past that haunt her.
Thirteen Things About Ed Carpolotti showcases Virginia. Recently widowed, she now has to face challenges and make decisions about her husband’s business. Since she has never been exposed or involved in that aspect of his life, she must come to terms with some terrifying decisions and confrontations that seem insurmountable.
O’Brien brings out the duality of his character. As an astute business man, he pragmatically evaluates who might soon need his services. In his secret obsession with the real estate agent, he becomes a silly, almost teenager-like kid. He softly and incessantly chants “I love you” at her back. He wants her to turn around but is fearful that she will.
Cloutier delivers a range of emotions. Brazen, bold and sometimes belligerent, she evolves from a jewelry thief with no regard for anyone into a frail human who comes face to face with her personal demons. Her physical movements and facial expressions complement her performance.
Martin-Huber plays Virginia as a delightful ditz and her delivery is wonderful. Her comedic timing is spot on. Although she sits through all of her monologue, Martin-Huber is physically active during the performance using her outstretched arms and facial expressions to heighten her responses. She’s a tease and a deadpan master.
The set is reflective of a typical funeral home with a sofa, a pulpit and the implied suggestion of where a casket would be. Each monologue shares the same set. A new basket of flowers placed on a shelf indicates a change in speaker and time.
Excellent direction by Joe Eberle.
Note: Although Jeffrey Hatcher’s “Three Viewings” concentrates on death and dying, there are many funny lines in this dark comedy. And it’s okay to laugh when you hear them!
I’m dead serious, this is a great production!
South Park Theatre, at the intersection of Corrigan Drive & Brownsville Road, South Park, PA 15301. For more information, click here.