BWW Review: EXIT THE BODY at Town Players Of Newtown
On May 13, I saw EXIT THE BODY, a 1961 three act suspense/mystery play, written by Fred Carmichael, and put on by the Town Players of Newtown, at the Little Theater in Newtown. The theater creates a very personal feeling, due to the small enclosed size, enabling every audience member to get a good view of the large set that represents a living room of a New England cottage. The living room has six different potential exits and entrances, all of which are put to good use throughout the play, especially the two entrances on different sides of the same closet.
The show starts strongly with its most intriguing character, Randolph, a likeable villain played by Jeffry Bukowski, who delivers his character's back story and agenda with feeling and emotion, while conversing with his newly recruited accomplice Jenny, the maid whose innocent southern charm is brought to life by actress Brooke Cassalia. Randolph works for an unnamed boss who the audience suspects may be one of the other characters, even possibly Jenny.
The story's exposition reveals that stolen diamonds were allegedly hidden somewhere in the house. Finding these diamonds becomes a central goal of multiple characters, none of them seeming to want to do so for honest reasons. The other main goal is to figure out what happened, is happening, and will happen to the presumably dead bodies that randomly appear in the closet, but then disappear. The audience has the main goal of trying to figure out which characters may not be who they claim to be.
The third act, which is by far the best of the three acts, has the unique feature of mostly being in the dark, with flashlights held by the actors illuminating the necessary areas of the stage. The act takes place at 2:00 in the morning, where multiple characters, some with guns, attempt to find the hidden diamonds while avoiding being seen by the other people who are also constantly entering and exiting through the various doors. This leads to some comical interactions between characters who had not previously seen each other, including the town's jack of all trades, Vernon Cookley, whose spirited portrayal by Ron Malyszka enhances the quality of the production.
EXIT THE BODY will continue to run at the Little Theater, In Newtown, until June 3, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Thursday June 1 at 8:00 PM, and Sundays May 21 and May 28 at 2:00 PM. It is refreshing to see a play that has no profanity, sexual content, or political agenda.