by Terrance Mc Arthur
Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes….No, it’s not Rent. But it’s a year, in a sense. It’s maybe 100 minutes, divided into 12 playlets and an intermission. It’s Months on End by Craig Pospisil, playing at the Good Company Players’ 2nd Space Theatre through February 27.
Each scene takes place in one month, from January to December. It’s a play of brothers, sisters, parents, friends, lovers, and pieces of a year. A marriage ends, a marriage begins. A life ends, a life graduates. Many things happen in a short time.
Thanks to your friendly neighborhood pandemic, the cast is a bit fluid, with actors dropping out for a few performances, and understudies filling in. In other words, your cast may vary…but you’ll still get a fascinating show.
The cast and understudies (I have no idea who you will actually see):
(u: understudy; * who I saw perform)
Walter (Michael Fidalgo/ u—Joe Harding*)
Elaine (Marikah Christine Leal*/u—Ashley Hyatt)
Phoebe (Chlorissa Prothro*/u—Marikah Christine Leal)
Ben (Marcus Cardenas/u–Benjamin Geddart*)
Tony (Benjamin Geddart/u—Noah Miranda*)
Nick (Chase Stubblefield*/u—Joe Harding)
Paige (Savannah Clevenger*/u—Jessica Rose Knotts)
Heidi (Juliana Chiarito*/u—Jessica Rose Knotts)
Gwen (Tracy Ruth Hostmyer*/u—Julie Andrews)
Chris (Bryan Beckstrand*/u—Landon Weiszbrod)
Notes on the performance I saw:
Character Relationships—Nick and Walter are brothers, Walter is seeing Elaine, Phoebe and Heidi are sisters, Phoebe is engaged to Ben, Paige is a girlfriend of Nick, Tony is a friend of Nick, and Gwen and Chris are the parents of Phoebe and Heidi. Wade (never seen) is Paige’s brother and Ben’s friend. (You can’t tell the players without a program…and you still might be confused.)
Performers/Characters—Walter is acerbic and jaded, yet wise. Elaine is frustrated, but interesting, and Leal looks like Janeane Garafolo. Nick doesn’t deal well with his brother, but learns, and Stubblefield shines. Ben is childishly drawn to Beatles memorabilia and Monty Python routines, yet Geddert delivers the most emotional speech of the play, not bad at all for an understudy. Phoebe is insecure but loving, and Prothro has a gentle power. Heidi delivers the most hilarious graduation speech on record, and Chiarto’s descent into hysteria is one to be savored. Gwen is a rock, holding her family together, and Hostmyer provides just a touch of acid. Chris is a loving father who passes out confusing advice, and the bearded Beckstrand looks like the retirement David Letterman. Tony doesn’t have a lot to do besides ogling unseen girls, but Miranda blends into the ensemble. Paige makes a major mistake in the eyes of another, and Clevenger shows brisk comic timing.
The Production—Julie Lucido’s direction makes the time pass quickly. David Pierce’s set is a giant wall calendar studded with props and clues to things that matter in the play. Ginger Kay Lewis Reed’s costumes work, accommodating all the cast changes that Covid-19 may cause. There is some adult content and language in this comedy of manners with serious undertones. It’s a good play for after-show conversations.
Last Words—The show must go on, and GCP will do anything to keep entertaining audiences, come virus or high water. Months on End won’t last for months on end, so hurry to the 2nd Space Theatre, 928 E. Olive Ave, in Fresno. For tickets and further information, contact www.gcplayers.com, or call (559) 266-9494.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.