“Becky Shaw” by Gina Gionfriddo

“Becky Shaw”
by Gina Gionfriddo
Multicast performance starring;Emily Bergl, Matt Letscher, Marsha Mason, Mandy Siegfried, and Josh Stamberg
Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
1hour 49 minutes

One thing about relocating to a small town in the middle of nowhere is that there is a very limited choice of theatrical and cultural experiences. Okay maybe just theatrical, there’s plenty of cultural experiences that come to small towns like harvest festivals, wine tasting festivals and various other, but with only a community college nearby the theatrical experiences are severely limited compared to when I lived in the city. I guess really that’s the one thing I miss, sitting in the darkened theater with live performers, that sometimes are friends and sometimes major celebrities that come to town on a touring performance. Getting lost in the story and the full four dimensional experience that is the theatre.

Luckily I’ve stumbled across the audio releases from L.A. Theatre works. These recorded performances put you right in the middle of the audience and while the visual aspect of the theatre is missing, the quality of production of the audio keeps you in the performance without missing the visual. The sound effects and audience response are perfectly mixed in to not distract but instead enhance the performance.

This time around I listened to a contemporary play, “Becky Shaw” written by Gina Gionfriddo. The play is a bit of a comedy of errors type play but may even seem as a bit of a love story with some suspense thrown in, so I guess you could say, a suspenseful comedy of romantic errors. The main characters are Max and Suzana who are raised together after Max’s mother dies and Suzana’s parents take him in. Suzana’s mother suffers from MS and has recently taken a young lover, a mere 4 months after the death of Suzana’s father. During the introductory scene we learn that Max and Suzana may have an attraction to each other. The action starts when we jump a few months later after Suzana has run off to Vegas to get married and Suzanna sets up Max, on a blind date with her husband’s co-worker, the mysterious Becky Shaw. During the date Max and Becky are mugged and what follows is a series of cataclysmic events that forever changes all their lives.

Mixing sharp wit and humor with the suspense of a psychological thriller, this critically acclaimed play will keep you guessing as to what will happen next. I will warn you the play would be R-rated as the main characters seem to love throwing around the F-bomb. But the performance is spot on, as have been all the plays I’ve heard from LATW. Also the play is a lot of fun with the humor, twists and turns, and quick view of human nature.

Not until the very end do all things get sorted out, and even then I was still left wondering, who is this Becky Shaw?