2Beholden: Or Not 2B! – Five New Short Plays by Susan Jackson

 

Susan Jackson as Jessie and Diana Brown as Jenny 
in Eye Tooth, Part 2.  Photo by Stacy Marshall

The Southern Railroad Theatre Company’s mission is to bring the true Southern experience to the Bay Area in the plays of Susan Jackson.  Her main characters are strong, irrepressible women, facing sudden challenges.  All of the characters in her plays are related by blood or marriage, and this family tree is the foundation of her producing calendar beginning with Heathen which takes place during the Civil War and continues to the present day. In addition, the selections of the plays are connected thematically–Blessings 2010, Forgiveness 2011, Mercy 2011 and Beholden 2012.

Act One opens with Heathen Part 2 which takes place in Bess Canaan’s bedroom in 1865.  Here Ann Kuchins has remarkable stage presence as Bess Canaan as she explains to Posey, her slave girl (Margo Sims) how she has always taken care of her and saved her life making Posey beholden to her for life.  This is followed by  contrasting scene in Posey Carter’s home, two miles from the Canaan Plantation in 1929 in which Posey has a monologue speaking her thoughts, explaining why she is never beholden to anyone.

The next play is Eye Tooth, Part 2 directed by Ann Thomas.  Eye Tooth takes place in the present day at a California State mental hospital. Here Diana Brown has a great deal of spontaneity as Jenny Safrit who explains in group therapy, why she took the life of Jessie Waters (Susan Jackson) who was one of her husband’s “bitches.” Susan Jackson is effective as the ghost of the waitress, Jessie Waters.  Robert Cooper is very professional as Dr. Phillip Brevard who is in charge of a group of patients which includes Adrienne Krug, Ann Kuchins and Margo Sims.

Act One concludes with For I Am Not Breaking, Part 5 directed by Stephen Drewes, which takes place at the Charlotte International Airport, September, 2011.  Here, Susan Jackson, in an appealing performance as Marion Peallin, soon to be ex-wife of bigamist Judge Peallin, meets a stranger (Eric Nelson) while waiting for the flight for her first trip to New York City.

Act Two opens with Rockets Red Glare: Lacy’s Story directed by Ann Thomas which stars Adrienne Krug as Crazy Lacy.  Here we join Lacy on her survival journey from an abandoned three year old in 1970 through 2012, a few days before The Wedding of the Century in 2012.  Here Krug gives a wonderful tour de force performance as Lacy at two years old, seven years old, nine years old, thirteen years old, twenty one years old, forty years old and forty five years old.

The grand finale of the evening is Rockets Red Glare: The Wedding directed by Ann Kuchins. This play takes place in the Anterooms and Sanctuary of the Beaver Dam Free Will Baptist Church in the present, 2012.  Here the entire cast joins in, in wonderfully comic performances.  The folks in Beaver Dam never thought they’d see the day that Salacious and Nancy (Diana Brown) would stop fighting long enough to actually get married, yet it seems that the day has finally arrived.  They are joined by a supporting cast in top notch performances which include Ann Kuchins as Rev. Rainbow, Robert Cooper as Billy Barnett, Susan Jackson as Mayor Peaches Nasterson, Adrienne Krug as Crazy Lacy and Margo Sims as Tulita.

Thanks to Susan Jackson’s marvelous sense of humor, a great time is had by all!

2Beholden or Not 2B! runs through September 29. Performances are held Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa, San Francisco. For tickets and information, contact www.brownpapertickets.com/event/252834 or call 1-800-838-3006.