Becky Shaw

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There are so many secrets and lies that you can hardly keep up with them. Everybody lies to each other and everyone except Becky lies to themselves about the nature of their relationships. The lengths the characters go to deceive is spellbinding and howlingly funny. Your loyalties constantly shift between the characters. You start out rooting for the sad-sack Suzanna and sympathize with her having a dragon lady for a mother. But then Susan shows, in the second act, a sagacity and candor about the realities of marriage and love that makes her engaging and affecting.

Conversely, you love to hate the scornful Max, but then as played with scalding energy by Mr. Gartshore, you see the depth of his love for Suzanna and Susan and how terrible it is for him to bear. Becky Shaw is a romantic comedy without the requisite happy ending.

Becky Shaw

As glib and lacerating as the characters are, they come to no easy conclusions or resolutions. Instead, you see a group of people in transition—deciding what to keep and what to let go of—while Becky schemes to find her place among them. Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo. Directed by Patricia McGregor. Scenic designer: Daniel Conway. Impoverishment in modern-day America being relative, the neurasthenic Suzanna still has the wherewithal to dress her skinny self in cool casual outfits.

Well aware of his diminished emotional capacities the most obvious being his inability to declare his love for Suzanna , Max overcompensates by cultivating a quick wit and a tongue so sharp he is forever cutting himself, along with anyone else in range.

Becky Shaw – Pacific Resident Theater

Whenever these two brainy, but terminally bruised soulmates are together in the same room, their corrosive dialogue at which Gionfriddo is some kind of genius makes every dim bulb light up. No matter that the insights and insults Suzanna and Max hurl at one another are not always thematically significant, or even apropos to what happens to be going on.

The sharpness of their wit and the intensity of the delivery send little shockwaves of delight through the house.

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Maybe watching mother Susan so empowered by Kelly Bishop she could snap your spine with one basilisk look put these two in their place — under her thumb. So, when Suzanna appears as the wife of a professionally sensitive nerd named Andrew played with admirable restraint and not a sign of a smirk by Thomas Sadoski , one can only assume that a terrible mistake has been made.

Which is where Becky, who knows Andrew from work, comes in. The kicker is, none of these smart people can see Becky for the needy neurotic she is, and each in turn including that old fox Susan is taken in by her manipulative ways. Directed by Peter DuBois.

One feels for the tentative relationship she has with her new husband. Yet their pairing, even explained as a quickie Las Vegas wedding, does seem a little contrived.

Becky Shaw at San Francisco Playhouse

And, although you may want to sympathize, Jennings makes sure we know he has made his own bed out of his tortured past. In some other play, Susan may have been a deus ex machina, arriving to supply wisdom, nice dinners, and financial support.

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In this play, such intervention means little more than a yes or no—a bandaid, as it were—hardly the guidance that Max and Suzanna could use. Tickets and Information.

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