BWW Reviews: Fly The Muddy Skies: MUD BLUE SKY at Center Stage
If you've ever flown by commercial jetliner, you know that moment when the plane has finally ascended above the clouds, there's sunshine no matter what is happening below. You've slipped the surly bonds of earth. Up in the stratosphere, everything is clean.
Well, not exactly. Just ask Angie (Cynthia Darlow), Sam (Eva Kaminsky) or Beth (Susan Rome), the three friends-and-flight-attendants who comprise three quarters of playwright Marisa Wegryzyn's dramatis personae in her comic play, "Mud Blue Sky," now at Center Stage.
Commiserating in a generic motel-near-the-airport the night before another crack-of-dawn flight, they discuss dirty diapers stuck in seat pouches while they air out their own personal dirty laundry. Sam's sarcastic, sensual, definitely "trouble," with questionable mother-skills; Angie's out of the business, though not by choice, and seeks the esprit decorps she once knew; Beth's the reliable, practical one, but with a penchant for pot that draws the fourth and final character into the mix, Jonathan (Justin Kruger) a high school senior, weed-dealer, and artist, soon to be matriculating at Cal Tech.
"Mud Blue Skies" has all the elements of a future TV series; I was reminded of a more urbane and modern version of "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" which would become the inspiration for the comedy TV series, "Alice." Instead of diner waitresses, you've got flight attendants.
That's not meant as a "knock" against this play; it is extremely entertaining, with top flight (pun intended) performances by the entire company. Wegryzyn's dialogue is witty, particularly the exchanges between Beth and Jonathan; despite the vast difference in their ages and experience, there's much each has to learn from the other.
"Blue Mud Sky" is a fun night at the theater, if the laughs I heard throughout the evening were any indication. There's a mix of physical humor, issues with an "abused" TV remote, the old "man hidden in the bathroom" routine, well-timed expletives, and even a sensitive, could-hear-a-pin-drop confession of what it means to be there for another human being, even if that other human being is a stranger.
So, you've got pathos, comedy, a bit of drama, some "coming of age" moments as Jonathan learns a thing or two about women and the world, and since they're in a motel room, you know there's going to be some jokes regarding pay-for-view porn.
The play, performed in Center Stage's Head Theater, zips along at a spritely clip, coming in at around 90 minutes with no intermission. Patrons are put into the aerial mood with some pre-curtain black-and-white-Castle-Films-1950's-style documentary about "The Airport," and there's plenty of fly-by jet roars to let you know that this play isn't about accountants or coal miners.
It's Center Stage, so expect an exemplary job by director Susanna Gellert, costume designer Jennifer Moeller, scenic designer Neil Patel, and the rest of the Center Stage's talented artistic team. "Mud Blue Sky" continues its run at Center Stage, 700 North Calvert Street, now through April 14th. For more information, go to www.centerstage.org or call the box office at 410-332-0033.