Weak script hinders TRME actors in Kennedy's Children@ByName:
By Robert Patrick.
The Tech Random Music Ensemble,
M. Elizabeth Hunter W '91, director.
Kresge Rehearsal Room B,
Feb. 2-5 & 9-11.
KENNEDY'S CHILDREN: Wanda is a middle class lady, searching for how to live up to John F. Kennedy's aspirations. Sparger is a dropout actor: he's searching for work. Mark is the Vietnam vet searching for meaning in the war. Rona is the Hippie searching for a cause; and Clara is the glamor girl searching for a way to be the next Marilyn Monroe.
Characters oppose each other: the passionate beliefs of one run counter to those of the others. So, for example, Nora was protesting the war while Mark was fighting it; Clara was devastated by Marilyn Monroe's death and couldn't care less about the Kennedy assassination, while Wanda had not yet recovered from Kennedy's death and hardly even knew who Marilyn was.
Despite all this, the play was still enjoyable. Wanda was full of interesting little tidbits about Kennedy (James Bond was not popular until Kennedy mentioned that he liked reading him), as well as representing the many Americans who never quite got over the assassination.
Rona's hippie's perspective of the 60s rang true. We saw her protesting the war along with everyone else, later pushing speed at the same time she was working in a rehabilitation clinic, and finally despairing at the apathy of the youth of her day.
And finally, Clara, with her soft voice, puckered lips, and lavishly dressed figure, was always a pleasure to listen to as she rambled about her swapping sex for favors, and how "just terrible things were after Marilyn died."
Considering the writing the actors had to work with, and how hard it is to deliver only monologues, the acting was quite good. Of particular note were Tom Wethern '90 and Derek Clark '90 who quite often managed to really draw the audience into their characters' twisted minds. Alix Florio W '92, playing the part of Clara, seemed exceptionally comfortable in her role. At times, in fact, she seemed so comfortable that it was as if she was just saying whatever came to mind.
Showing how lonely each of the characters are by having them all in a bar together, but speaking into the ether rather than to each other, was an admirable idea. But it's unfortunately tough to give flow or momentum to a play constructed of monologues, and in this case, there were long stretches of monotony. Although the actors did their best to help the script, the shallow writing did not allow much success.