by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

“Verdigris is a green or greenish-blue coating that forms like rust on brass, bronze or copper, especially with age or neglect.  It can also cast an eerily beautiful glow.  The funny thing about verdigris…it doesn’t just happen to brass.”

It’s been said that if Tennessee Williams had been writing about the West, he might have come up with Verdigris. I would have to agree.  Verdigris is as close as a modern writer might come to the kind of poetic emotional mine field Williams so thoroughly waded and hurdled in his works.  Writer/actor Jim Beaver exquisitely squeezes the heart of it, for sure.

First produced in 1985 at Theatre West, Verdigris feels as new here in it’s 30th anniversary staging by Nawyecka Productions,  as it’s first day live on stage.  This play is no mere romantic reminiscence of the past, of days gone by or dreams once lived and lost.  It’s hard!  As hard and frustrated and lonely and so damned moving as the horribly manipulative, Margaret Fielding, who can’t see much, use her hands or walk but can “hear paint peel”, around which the drama centers.  It stares you in the face with a square jaw, blunt and uncompromising.  There is no middle ground.

But unlike the decrepit house with cracked walls, flaking wall paper and far too many relics slowly crumbling into dust, Margaret a once movie star dazzling, desirable young woman, now crippled with age and illness, is still full of life. No matter the odds she keeps reaching for it.  And that is the tragedy.

It’s 1972, in the small town of Edgar, Oklahoma.  A young acting student by the name of Richard shows up to take a “position’ in the house caring for Margaret.  As Richard narrates the past in present tense, layers of history, of anger, of failure and of love are revealed for a final moment of redemption.

Verdigris ain’t for sissies!  It is a snappy, real time exposition of life in the raw endowed with plenty of grit and some truly wonderful, heartbreaking surprises.  This cast is gorgeous! Every moment is played out perfectly – sometimes hilarious, often cruel, ultimately wrenching right at the heart center.
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Now playing until April 19, 2015

Written by Jim Beaver
Directed by Mark W. Travis
Produced by Charlie Mount, Jill Jones and Arden Teresa Lewis.

Featuring Jim Beaver: Sheila Shaw (who also appeared in the 1985 mounting), Katie Adler, Cal Bartlett, Adam Conger, David Goldstein, Ian Lerch, David Mingrino, Chloe Rosenthal, Corinne Shor and Dylan Vigus.

Photo: Adam Conger, Jim Beaver, Cal Bartlett, Sheila Shaw, David Goldstein, Chloe Rosenthal Photo by  Charlotte Mount

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