BWW Review: CROOKED at Thinking Cap Theatre
The Normality of Madness
It's today in Oxford, Mississippi and Laney is a fourteen year old would be writer. She pretty, adorable, funny. She's manic, vicious and a serial liar. A normal mother's nightmare.
Elise is Laney's mother. Forties, a constant smile, genuine, supercilious, look at me, I'm a martyr. She loves her daughter and is about to divorce her husband. He's in a mental home. She drinks and makes lists. Normal is not one of the items.
Maribel is sixteen years old, black, and is saturated with Jesus. She spreads the word and wonders about sex. Love has never found her. Not at home, not at school.
These three characters are played by Krystal Millie Valdes, Elizabeth Price and Daryl Patrice in the Nicole Stodard directed show, CROOKED, running now at Thinking Cap Theatre's Vanguard Sanctuary of the Arts.
Catherine Trieschmann wrote CROOKED and give her a mighty thank you for a piece that reveals the fears of broken minds. We are privileged to peer.
The scenes linger; Laney reading her stories, wildly overacting; meeting Maribel, home schooled and now in remedial class, her only friend Jesus; converting to Maribel's religion; kissing Mirabel and, wildly posturing as if crucified as she shrieks to her mother that she is a holiness lesbian.
Mirabel telling Laney's mother things she could not say at home. Her father is a preacher and used car salesman. Her mother does not listen. Laney's mother understands.
But Laney lies. She always lies.
Her father is gone. She doesn't remember the knife. But her mother, of course, reminds her.
CROOKED covers the tragedies with laughter. But the sadness is always there. Why not? There's madness in the house.
Alyiece Moretto-Watkins designed a set that is everything crooked; the walls are inscribed with lines from Laney's stories and her mother's endless lists, the floors are covered with curving variations of 'crooked' and high on the right wall is written 'crooked' and below that 'adjective'. This section is spotlighted during each scene change. High above it all are stained glass windows.
Joel De Sousa designed the lighting, Nicole Stodard the costumes, and Bree-Anna Obst the live musical accompaniment.
Nicole Stodard and Thinking Cap have a reputation for theatrical excellence. It's enhanced with CROOKED.
Playing through September 30 at Thinking Cap Theatre at the Vanguard, 1501 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale 954-610-7263 http://vanguardarts.org/thinking-cap-theatre
Photo by David Muir