Greater Clements is playing at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre located at 150 West 65th Street. It runs two hours fifty minutes with two intermissions. The play closes on January 19, 2020.
Judith Ivy won two Tony Awards for Hurlyburly (1984) and Steaming (1981).
The time and place are a small museum in a tiny town, in Northern Idaho 2017.
We hear a voice saying the shaft is 64 ft long. At 64 feet the temperature is 115 degrees. In the seventies there was a fire in the shaft. Eighty-four men died, one of them was his grandfather.
There is a noise as the elevator in the shaft is going up.
We are now in the museum. Maggie (Judith Ivey) is cleaning up pieces of broken glass. It was a case surrounding a watch that we find out later belonged to her father He died in the shaft fire. She runs the mining museum. Her friend Oliva (Nina Hellman) comes into the museum. She wants her to sign a petition to fight the people want to do away with the town. The properties are being bought by wealthy out of state people, forcing out longtime residents.
Maggie’s son Joe (Edmund Donovan) comes into the room. He used to give tours of the mines until they were closed. He sneaks into them once in a while.
Joe is not all there mentally. He has issues where he gets violent. Sometimes when he looks at people, they have weird faces.
Meanwhile Maggie has invited a friend from high school to come to her home. Billy (Ken Narasaki) lives in another town and has brought his granddaughter Kel (Haley Sakamoto). They were high school sweethearts. When it got serious her father put an end to it. He served in World War ll and Billy is Japanese.
Billy has cancer again. He says he’s going to fight and bet it. He asks Maggie to move in with him. She can bring Joe.
Joe cuts his hand badly. Luckily police officer Wayne (Andrew Garman) was going by and took him for treatment. Kel keeps bothering Joe about going into the mine. He sneaks her in. When asked where she is, he says he doesn’t know. But under pressure he tells then where he left her but doesn’t know where she is at that moment. She wanted to be left alone. While she is out, she gets a call from her father who is drunk.
Maggie tells Billy her husband told her he was gay and left her to live with his boyfriend.
You get the feeling there is more to why Kel and Joe act the way they do.
Mona (Kate MacCluggage) comes into the museum. She wants to take a tour of the mines. When she is told she can’t she upset. Mona tells her how as a child she would come to the town with her parents. Going down in the mine gave her happiness.
This is a touching play. Maggie hopes of having the life she has always wanted but won’t. Something happens that shatters that dream.
Judith Ivey is stunning as Maggie. The rest of the cast shines.
The set done by Dane Laffrey is clever and well done.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.