The Traditionalists is a one-act play that was supposed to be one of two presented this past weekend and next, following the Women’s Theatre Festival’s 24-hour Occupy the Stage Event the previous weekend. A family emergency caused the postponement of Men Always Leave by Naima Yetunde Ince, which will be included in the Aug. 13th and 14th performances.
The production, which is presented at Umstead Park United Church of Christ at 8208 Brownleigh Dr. in Raleigh, lived up to the mission of the festival, which is “to create, produce and promote extraordinary theatre by women.” This play incorporates the philosophy under which the WTF is founded, in that it was written, directed, stage managed and teched by women, and the cast was 50 percent women.
Extraordinary is an accurate description of this show, starring Elaine Quagliata and Douglas Lally, who give powerful performances as Tenille, the “perfect little wife,” and Nicholas, macho, sturdy, bread-winning head of the household. First-time director Pam McClure has helped her actors pull the veil from the façades that they both live under, and Heather J. Strickland is to be commended for her excellent fight choreography.
The opening scene is so natural that it begins to tell the story without any words. Their postures demonstrate their personalities and show how very much can be said in silence. We watch the unraveling of this ideal-appearing home in a progression that is horrifyingly predictable, denying it as it occurs before us.
The play is set in the dining room of an upper-middle-class home, with noticeable silver appointments and expensive glass, a subtle reminder that the problems addressed here occur at all socioeconomic levels.
A question-and-answer dialogue between the audience and the playwright, director, techie, and two performers after the curtain was insightful and provoked much thoughtful conversation.
We are arranging a follow-up review for next weekend to report on Men Always Leave, the sister play for this production.
The Women’s Theatre Festival presents THE TRADITIONALISTS at 8 p.m. Aug. 12 and 13 and 3 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Umstead Park United Church of Christ, 8208 Brownleigh Dr, Raleigh, North Carolina 27617.
TICKETS: $16.52, with service fee.
BOX OFFICE: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2559982.
PRESENTER: http://www.womenstheatrefestival.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/1081089605266087/.
VENUE: http://www.upucc.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/UmsteadParkUCC.
Carol Torian (playwright): http://www.shewrites.com/profile/CarolTorian (official website) and https://www.facebook.com/carol.torian (Facebook page).
Pam McClure (Raleigh, NC director): https://www.facebook.com/pam.mcclure.965 (Facebook page).
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.