Talent Shines but Script Lacks in 'Carol Mulroney'
Written by Stephen Belber; directed by Lisa Peterson; scenic design by Rachel Hauck; costumes design by Kristin Glans; lighting design by Alexander V. Nichols; original music and sound design by John Gromada
Cast in Order of Appearance
Carol Mulroney, Ana Reeder
Hutton Mulroney, Larry Pine
Lesley, Tim Random
Performances: Now through November 20 at the Wimberly Theatre, BCA Calderwood Pavilion
Box Office: 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org, www.bostontheatrescene.com
Sometimes, a great actor-or even a great group of actors-can't revive a lifeless script. Even with the help of clever staging, unique lighting, original music, and a simple but effective set, the script just drags everything down and screams to be rewritten with each passing scene. This scenario is unfortunately the case with Stephen Belber's Carol Mulroney. While the Huntington Theatre stages a fantastic world premiere of this drama, the script itself lacks so much that the overall effect is one of confusion and hyperbole rather than revelation and power.
The main problem with Belber's script is that it is just too much. For a relatively simple story about a woman struggling with her past and her future, Carol Mulroney lacks the focus needed to effectively convey Belber's tale. The rough outline of a structure and plot is there, but the play jumps in too many directions at once, from the various subplots, to the tangents that serve as scene transitions, to the recurring image of the elephant's butt. It's almost as if Belber is trying so hard to write a deep and meaningful script that he completely misses and ends up writing an overblown caricature of his original goal. His use of comedy and lighter moments in this drama is well done and perfectly timed, but overall, the dialogue seems weak and forced. The scenes and ideas just don't flow, and the almost non-existent structure coupled with the awkwardly verbose and exaggerated transitioning tangents lend themselves to the creation of a totally forgettable story. One expects more from the seasoned stage and screen veteran who co-authored The Laramie Project.
Despite the obvious weaknesses of the script,
Overall, the ensemble works well together to bring Belber's story to life, and under the direction of Lisa Peterson, completely avoid the on stage awkwardness that is so prevalent in the script's dialogue. The relationship between Peterson's direction and Alexander F. Nichols' lighting design is one of great balance-the two play off each other to present a show that is visually interesting and appealing-and Rachel Hauck's scenic design is simple yet eerily poignant and foreshadowing.
The elements for a good show are there, but for some reason-mainly Belber's script-the production is lacking. And while the