The Forest Moon Theater’s production of The Memory of Water is another strong show, staged by the Forest Moon Theater in its newly refurbished digs in the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts in Wake Forest, NC. This entertaining 1996 British comedy by English actress and playwright Shelagh Stephenson touches life at its sorest point — when death occurs.
Director Bob Baird has found himself a choice group to fill this cast, all players do excellent jobs of advocating for their characters. The technical crew have built him a fine set on the new stage, replete with cyclorama. It’s a cozy bedroom, double bed stage center, with a vanity and lace curtained window area on one side, and a veddy English wardrobe tucked into the other side. Kudos to Baird, Erin Irwin, and Alyssa Petrone for this fine job. (One small suggestion — place the telephone ringer somewhere backstage near the telephone, center stage.)
Gayle Jordan’s costumes are fabulous — both those that the actors wear and the ones that are tossed around.
The actors are energetic, committed, well-directed, and create well-defined characters. The sense that this is an ensemble piece is omnipresent as this fast-paced group sweeps across the stage, performing well, and telling the story with laughs and gusto. The British accents leave a bit to be desired, but do not impede understanding the dialogue.
Vi, the ghost of the sisters’ mother, is played by Jean Jamison, with a hardboiled sophisticated edge. Vi is not at all a warm mother, but she is not without the ability to love. Jamison shows that she simply had expectations of her daughters, as well as expecting they be met.
We meet Mary, the middle sister, first. Mary is trying to stay in bed the morning of her mother’s funeral, having been visited just before sunrise by Vi the ghost. Kirsten Ehlert shows how strong-willed and self-driven this young woman is.
Ashley Rebecca Jones gives us a Teresa who is the least understood of the three sisters, and she feels responsible for the whole family. Jones successfully plays the woman for us to sympathize with. We feel her pain.
Catherine is wound up tight as a drum, as we used to say; and Emily Yates springs out of herself, plopping Catherine’s persona into our lives like a whirlwind of angst. We feel her loneliness….
Tom Barbieri reaches into some dark areas of humanity to so realistically present Mike, a guy with antennae for a vulnerable young woman. He manages a character whose decency can be neither heard nor felt, let alone seen. In short, he’s wonderful in the role.
Frank, Teresa’s husband, is played by Joey DeSena. DeSena makes us understand the extent to which Frank replaces the sisters’ father in his handling of Teresa’s shortcomings. Frank is a man of great patience, but how long can it last?
Wake Forest can be proud of the Forest Moon Theater, which continues to produce fine entertainment in its attractive newly renovated facility. By the way, please note that this show is only up for one more weekend. It’s last performance is a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 18th.
SECOND OPINION: Nov. 10th Raleigh, NC CVNC review Roy C. Dicks: https://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=9155.
The Forest Moon Theater presents THE MEMORY OF WATER at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17 and 3 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts, 405 S. Brooks St., Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587.
TICKETS: $15 ($13 students 18 and under and seniors 65+) in advance and $18 ($16 students 18 and under and seniors 65+) at the door.
BOX OFFICE: 919-435-2001, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://www.etix.com/.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-435-2001 or email@example.com.
SHOW: https://forestmoontheater.org/the-memory-of-water/, https://www.facebook.com/events/506679666485266/, and https://www.wakeforestrencen.org/event/memory-water-2.
2018-19 SEASON: https://forestmoontheater.org/season-passes-for-2018-2019/.
PRESENTER: http://www.forestmoontheater.org/, https://www.facebook.com/forestmoontheater, https://twitter.com/FMTheater, and https://www.youtube.com/user/ForestMoonTheater?feature=mhee.
VENUE: https://www.wakeforestrencen.org/, https://www.facebook.com/WFRenaissanceCentre, and https://twitter.com/WFRenCen.
The Memory of Water (1996 English comedy): http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=2846 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/Production/228 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Memory_of_Water (Wikipedia).
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Shelagh Stephenson (playwright): https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/shelagh-stephenson (British Council Literature bio), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/2272 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0827322/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelagh_Stephenson (Wikipedia).
Bob Baird (Wake Forest, NC director): http://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/504925-bob-baird (AboutTheArtists bio) and https://www.facebook.com/robert.c.baird (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 Amazon.com. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori previously reviewed theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.