Three Viewings: Humor and Human Folly at the Graveside

Adrianne Krstansky as Virginia in Three Viewings. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Three Viewings by Jeffrey Hatcher, New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 11/27/11-12/18/11, http://newrep.org/three_viewings.php.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Watertown, MA) Three Viewings is the kind of theatrical outing that I cannot recommend highly enough, a play where writer Jeffrey Hatcher deftly and comically attempts to capture the variation and nuance of human nature.

Little connects the slim cast of three beyond the same funeral home.  The first monologue features Emil (Joel Colodner) and his devotion to a real estate agent that turns up at funerals.  His romantic feelings are flowery, both humorous and sad.  The actor provides a light performance for seemingly light material, but his tale of love is filtered far more heavily by his perception than even he realizes.

Colodner’s performance is certainly light in comparison to Christine Power who plays a jewelry thief by the name of Mac.  Power lays on her performance thickly, playing up the lifestyle of a professional grave robber.  Her character at first appears to be without nuance, but the way both her sense of self and past unravels is thoroughly entrancing.  Her passion and energy are hypnotic even if her monologue sometimes feels inconsistent.

The last of the three characters, Virginia (Adrianne Krstansky), steals the show.  As a grieving widow, she doesn’t only have to deal with re-ordering her life but her opinions about her late husband.  The tension builds as her situation becomes dire but Krstansky, with a skilled hand, makes sure to play her character with a great deal of warmth.  She may be a victim of circumstance, but she’s trying to hold it together the best she can and it’s difficult for the audience not to love her for it.

Sometimes the characters attempt more poetic turns of phrase, moments that distract from the naturalistic personas they’ve so carefully built, but watching their stories unfold is both unpredictable and involving.  The funeral home and surrounding town that entwines their monologues has weight and realness by the time the play comes to an end, a place where big emotions linger just below the surface, waiting to entrap the audience.

 

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