Saturday, November 27, 2010

Morning's at Seven by Paul Osborne, Different Stages at the Vortex Repertory, November 19 - December 11

Different Stages lives up to its name with this affectionate recreation of a vanished America. Paul Osborn created for his 1930's audiences a comforting family portrait, set in a small town. All three acts of Morning's at Seven take place in a back yard shared by two wooden framed houses, and all except one of the nine characters are related.

This gentle comedy was a quirky oldies play. All four of the Boulton sisters are in their sixties, as are the three husbands (one sister, Aaronetta, never married). The vigor and humor of this cast mask the gerontological aspect. In the 1930s, life expectancy for the average American man was 61; for the average American woman it was 65. (Today the figures are 80 and 76, and as I write this, my 85-year-old father-in-law sits across from me, studying the Wall Street Journal).

The only outsider, Myrtle, is a sweet-tempered spinster hoping to become an insider. Her beau of twelve years, mama's boy Homer, has finally invited her home to meet the folks, an event that in this bounded little world is something like the appearance of Halley's comet.

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