Staples brings character to one-woman show
GLENCOE – Deborah Staples’ tour de force performance in “The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead” ignites the intimate Writers’ Theatre black-box stage in space at the back of Books on Vernon in Glencoe.
She shows an amazing stage presence, playing all the characters in Robert Hewett’s ambitious play – not only the three referred to in the title but four others who figure in the story.
At least eight times during the two-hour production Staples skillfully undergoes a striking physical transformation while on stage. Altering her apparel, makeup, wig, voice and mannerism, she becomes Rhonda, the central character, a middle-aged housewife and mother whose life goes topsy-turvy when, after 17 years, her standoffish husband abruptly leaves the marital abode for greener pastures.
Jilted Rhonda briefly contemplates her plight (too briefly, it turns out) and sets out to seek violent retribution. This foolhardiness sets in motion a downward spiral that has a ripple effect on her family and neighbors and unexpected consequences for strangers, including one who ultimately gives Rhonda a new clarity of vision – the key to freedom.
Unfortunately, Hewett’s plot comes across as a little too pat – too much contrivance.
But each person Staples portrays in the character-driven drama – from the “trailer trash” Lynette to fragile elderly neighbor, Joan – comes across with a high degree of believability as they share their point of view on the chain of events that are unleashed early on.
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