Esteemed writer David Macaray brings hilariously delicious but also eloquent humor to his latest duets of one act plays under the notable title, “Family Matters” at Stages Theater.
First up is “The Affair” featuring the glamorous hot-to-trot doctor’s wife, Veronica, as she calls her gardener boyfriend over for a secret rendezvous. Veronica (Christine Cummings) is the sex kitten slithering around on the bed in drop-dead body clinging lingerie and heels, while her egotistical lover, Michael (Cameron Murray) is more obsessed with being in the doctor’s spectacular home than he seems to be with her.
If you have ever had a partner who was fixated on his or her cell phone, or the latest football score (hmm, ladies?) or hanging with friends “too long,” then, you most likely understand Veronica’s frustration.
Cummings captures the true essence of her character, and she is so believable that one practically wants to invite her over for a girl’s night in, complete with a glass of wine, a box of Kleenex, a basket full of broad shoulders to cry on and “girl power understanding.”
Murray is the oblivious Michael with a capital “T”. His portrayal of the boyish Michael is exactly who he is meant to be, and one can only imagine that Michael has a collection of bobble head dolls, a pile of dirty dishes in his apartment, and yes, he’s the guy who most likely has sex with his socks on.
From misguided romance to toxic sibling relationships, next up is Megan the Merciless featuring three sisters, Amy (Jennifer Hawley), Megan (KC Marie Pandell), and Priscilla (Sara LaFramboise). It is the eve of Amy’s wedding, and middle child, Megan, shows up unexpectedly and uninvited after three long years. The eldest sister and “referee” Priscilla does her best to keep things calm and civilized, but the hurt and heartache from childhood pain and frustration is still there. Dad is wandering around India somewhere, and mom is in the clinker on a manslaughter charge, so it’s up to the girls to find out if blood is truly thicker than water and if forgiveness is all that it’s cracked up to be.
Along for the ride is Amy’s fiancée, Murray (Rigel Kent Paden) and his buddy, Luigi (Nikolas Tanzini), and Murray is the supportive partner who sees both sides. Luigi is the good-hearted buddy who is easily excited about life.
This ensemble is so well connected that each actor feeds off the others, creating a symphony that lets the music play on.
Under the splendidly judged direction of Phil Brickey, the actors embody themselves with liveliness and a true sense of their own family bond as they bring Macaray’s fascinating characters and storytelling to life.
Both one act plays are wonderfully produced and executed, and the playwright, David Macaray and Director, Phil Brickey have worked together on several of Macaray’s original works since 2008.
KC Marie Pandell who portrays Megan is no stranger to working with this extraordinary duo since she also starred in another of Macaray’s original hits, a full-length 2016 comedy, “Blood Money.” Family Matters is highly entertaining, thought provoking, and truly engaging.
When complimented on how well written his plays are, Mr. Macaray humbly replied, “It’s all in the casting and the way the actors deliver their lines.”
Macaray writes about the human condition, and Family Matters is a perfect. example of how we, as humans, can still laugh at ourselves and perhaps try to do better – next time.
Director: Phil Brickey; Director Assistants: Fabian Montes, Stephanie Benitez; Set and Light Design/Technical Director: Jon Gaw; Sound Design/Light & Sound Operator: Fabian Montes; Set Construction: Jon Gaw, Rick Lawborn; Theater Manager: April Skinner.
Runs through September 22.
Stages Theater is located at 400 E Commonwealth Ave in Fullerton.
Tickets: (714) 525-4484 www.stagesoc.org
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