Community Theater Executes Michele Lowe's The Smell of the Kill
Familiar. The weathered beams holding the roof embrace the strangers as they walk into the illusory, yet familiar boudoir. Its black painted ceilings stop the eye’s journey from wondering to the exposed roof beams where projection lights are embedded in its nooks; and darkened windows restrict the world’s view knowing whoever enters this room does not want to participate of the world, not for a time anyways, but wants to be carried away to a familiar place out of time where the soul can nestle and rest. No longer strangers, guests scan the sitting room lined with old bricks mounting atop each other along the walls that betray this place’s identity. Welcome to the Ole Brick Theater in Scranton, Pa (126 W. Market St) where productions such as The Smell of the Kill (05/12/17-05/21/17) are performed by The Diva Theater group. The guest is greeted by the hostess Paige Balitski who, before their eyes, gracefully transforms into this production’s director.
Guests settle in their seats and become an expectant audience that concentrates its attention on the stage before them: a dining room where three women busily come and go clearing the table. The audience soon forgets they are at a theater; instead, they’re transported by the conversation into a day in the life of three couples. A mixture of drama and comedy paint the lives of each couple. The actresses, Kelly Kapacs (Nicky), Kelly Ann Walsh (Debra) and Marcie Riebe (Molly) work the stage from one end of the dinning room to the next putting order in the audience’s mind as they organize the house. Their respective counterparts portrayed by Alex Lotorto (Jay), Peter Miles (Danny) and Paul J. Gallo (Marty) are not seen throughout the play, yet they incorporate the very essence of the play: a satirical answer to what happens when respect in relationships dies.
At first the dialogue presents stereotypes of women as gossipers and airheads. This curtain is lifted as each woman demonstrates the struggles she endures in daily life and how she copes with them. As a reminder of these pains the men throw their unabashed comments (as well as golf balls!) from the room next door. In such a confined space and amidst such tension, relief is at hand within the women’s dialogue as they eventually expose their true selves to each other and to the eavesdropping audience.
Whether the audience agrees with the moral decisions the women are making or not they can’t help but understand and even cheer as they overcome with the characters their individual inner ambivalence and resolution of conflict among the women. The actors deliver a most convincing ideal world, and if only for an instant, make the audience live, laugh and rest among what they now recognize as family, but what an ending! A must see.
Last performances: May 19, 20 at 8 pm, May 21 at 2 pm. Tickets, $12 general admission, $10 students/seniors, can be reserved by calling the theater at (570) 209-7766.