Review: Memory gets surreal in 'Somewhere Fun'

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm •  Published: June 5, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — In Jenny Schwartz's quirky new play, "Somewhere Fun," troubled people take transitional journeys that unexpectedly intertwine.

As in her 2007 play "God's Ear," about parents unable to cope with the loss of a child, here daily events veer into dreamlike scenes, and characters spout nonsensical-sounding yet evocative dialogue. Fragmented, often humorous speech combines non-sequiturs with cliches, rhymes and half-remembered phrases to create a haunting reflection of inner anguish.

The stellar cast on display at the Vineyard Theatre fluently voices Schwartz's imaginative linguistics. Kate Mulgrew and Kathleen Chalfant lead an ensemble crisply directed by Anne Kauffman on Marsha Ginsberg's set that easily transforms from normal settings into surrealism.

Familial regrets float through the dialogue like sad, omnipresent clouds. One character mysteriously melts to death, while one is casually referred to as faceless. Memories become metaphors, as two 8-year-old children pop on and off the stage in their respective mothers' fond recollections brought to life.

As lonely, middle-aged realtor Rosemary Rappaport, Mulgrew gives a bravura performance. Briskly oblivious to others, Rosemary prattles on in barely controlled hysteria about herself and her estranged adult son, Benjamin (adeptly portrayed by Greg Keller.) A chance encounter with an old friend, played by Chalfant, sets her off down a crazed version of memory lane, and she comes fairly unhinged over a restaurant meal while semi-bullying another friend, (Mary Shultz, sweetly self-effacing in the first act).

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