Slinking on the EPAC stage through April 27

By: Apr. 22, 2024
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Tennessee William’s classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof recently slinked onto the EPAC stage and had audiences purring with appreciation.  Gabrielle Hondorp is electric as Maggie.  She is always scheming, always pleading, trying to figure out her next move like a chess master.  She shares the stage with Zach Haines who plays her husband, the aptly named Brick.  Just like a brick, his portrayal is solid, and heavy and unmoving.  Their robust and exposition-heavy first act scenes reminds me of that classic physics question, “what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object?”. 

Edward R. Fernandez is powerful as the iconic “Big Daddy”.  He plays the character with a bit of a mean streak.  This is no genteel southern gentleman.  Fernandez’s Big Daddy is gruff and crass, yet very authentic.  He owns the second act. He is matched by the talented Eliazabth Pattey aka Big Mama.  Big Mama may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she loves her husband.   In fact, I find it remarkable that all the female characters are portrayed with blind devotion towards their husbands.  IIt’s hard to say if they are motivated by love or a piece of Big Daddy’s ten million dollar inheritance.

Andrew Terranova and Tatiana Dalton have great chemistry as the fantastically fertile Gooper and Mae Pollitt.  While others may see these characters as a pair of opportunistic schemers, I like them both.  I sympathize with Gooper as the prodigal son, and see them as the most honest characters in the show.  Terranova and Dalton make their characters quite multidimensional.

Director Sean Young does an effective job with staging.  In my opinion, pacing is inherently a challenge with any production of this show.  Both acts one and two have extended, mostly one-sided dialogues with minimal action. While there are moments in those first two acts that could use a bit more momentum, it’s worth it for the dramatic act three payoff.

Scene design by Victor Capecce is  fantastic.  The planation room with its wicker chairs and ceiling fan paints a very detailed picture of the surroundings.  Speaking of painted pictures, the large ominous portrait of Big Daddy on the wall is a constant reminder of his presence. (I hope Ed gets to keep it at the close of the show!)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a classic American drama.  The Ephrata Performing Arts Center knows great theater.  Putting the two together is a recipe for a very memorable night.


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