August 11, 2014 Mildred’s



August 11, 2014 — It was a Houston World Premiere!!! This is a great thing. The costumes by LA Clevenson, were just right, even the touch of orange made it just that much better. That is a very cool thing. Okay, it wasn’t Cirque de Soleil but the movement, blocking, 3d composition onstage choreographed by Jennifer Wood and directed by Matt Huff was really well done. That was nice to see as well. Autumn Clack was iconic as Ester Williams. Courtney Lomelo really held my attention as the lead character Polly and manifested some very cool transformations of age and intent. The playwright, Keian McKee, created a script that was a kind of a psychological stream of images with words treated like poetry and a tight cohesiveness that alluded to the “well-made” plays of the past. I thought it was quite masterful to see what was happening before me as having no wasted word or move. The lights and sound design were worth mentioning: tight, minimalist, true. The set was adequate. The cues were pretty well dead on, as far as I could tell. Jason Duga was a young Johnny Weismuller: this in a really good way, which allowed him to be believable as he served the needs of the play’s transitions. Jule was cool.
James Belcher (wow, I didn’t recognize him) was likable as Mortimer and Dad in the beginning of the play. I really was taken aback when he was allowed to become a distasteful guy in the late middle of the play, forcing Polly to eat a tadpole, being mean in word and attitude for a couple of scenes. I also couldn’t understand why he, Dad of “call him Sir” history was later called “Mort” by his little daughter, later in the play but not later chronologically. In what way was he Death? Just because he sold tombstones? He sold death? Or did he sell Memories? Then I find out he steals from grave sites? If the tadpole scenes are Polly symbols, putting her on a hook to catch fish which bring food to the table and if the end of the play is true, that she can move forward because of her own strength, then why is it Mort that makes her swallow the tadpole. I don’t see justification in the play for saying that Mort makes her consume herself. I also find it hard to listen to Mort, toward the end of the play, as Chorus, truth teller, or wise if he is just a mean, lowly ‘man’ or ‘death without honor’, someone, inexplicably and out of the blue with just one, maybe red herring, line who “left” — I’m not sure who got left. “I left too???” Who did Polly leave?
This was some good theater.