Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Reviews: FIFTY WORDS at Everyman Theatre - A Powerful Play with Exceptional Cast


Are there "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"?

Is it true that "All You Need is Love"?

Is love really "...a Many Splendid Thing"?

Is this play Fifty Words just like "An Old Fashioned Love Song"?

I have to admit I could go on and on.

Playwright Michael Weller's choice of the title is strange and there is a line in the play that explains it. "It's a stupid word, "love". There should be fifty words for it like Eskimos have for snow."  Does this make sense to anyone?

The play takes place in a modern gorgeous kitchen brilliantly done by Timothy Mackabee who is making his Baltimore debut as scenic designer. A graduate of the esteemed Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, Mackabee is making a nice little resume for himself having worked on Broadway's Fela and a myriad of regional theaters.  The Baltimore Sun's Tim Smith did a great story on him.

Another Carver graduate and a member of the Everyman Theatre Resident Acting Company, the gifted Megan Anderson, plays Jan, a wife who after caring for a child is attempting to make it in the world of the internet.  Her husband Adam is played by the terrific as always Clinton Brandhagen, also a member of the Everyman Acting Company.  He's a financinally struggling architect who travels a lot.  Norbert Leo Butz played the role Off-Broadwayand Brandhagen holds his own.

The action takes place in the kitchen of their Brooklyn brownstown.  They are experiencing their first night alone without their nine-year old son who is on an overnight in Staten Island.  Does this not smack of a possible real problem?

If you answered are correct.  There are many problems in the household which come alive during the 90 minute play under the capable hands of Director Donald Hicken. 

The play is like Prego spaghetti sauce. "It's all in there."  There's talk of sex, arguments about sex, infidelity, jealousy, hatred, and ofcourse love. 

The end leaves one wondering about the future of this family.  Is is possible for them to live happily ever after?  Who will be the first to hire a divorce attorney?  Maybe they'll go for marriage counseling?  Will Jan just walk out the door like "Nora" in Ibsen's A Doll's House?

I've heard that some playgoers are staying home from this one due to the battles between Jan and Adam.  Do not make that mistake.  This is a powerful play with an exceptional cast.

Artistic Director Vince Lancisi spoke with me prior to the show. He commented, "Put on your seatbelt."  He was correct. It's truly quite a ride. Don't miss it.

Following the Thursday evening Feb. 16, performance, there will be a talk-back with the cast.

Fifty Words continues at the Everyman Theatre until February 19. For tickets, call 410-752-2208 or visit

Oh...Happy Valentines' Day to all.

Photo Credit: Stan Baraouh





Related Articles View More Washington, DC Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

From This Author Charles Shubow