Beyond Chron (website), September 21, 2005
IT DOESN’T GET MUCH DARKER
THAN THIS PLAY
Caryl Churchill who is famed for “Cloud Nine” wrote another play early in
her career. In fact “Owners” is her first full-fledged play so say the
producers at Shotgun Players.
The story centers around a woman who is a real estate agent. She tries to
control everyone that comes into contact with her. No surprise here. What
else would you expect from a R.E. agent? Anyway “Marion” buys and sells
buildings and is ruthless in her dealings. She even sells a house right
under a once “best friend”. Turns out that she is just getting revenge over
the fact that the woman’s husband was once a lover of Marion’s.
The Real Estate hottie is married to an oaf of a butcher. Who, I would
assume she married because he had money. Scenes move pretty fast in this
play. The clever set (a turnstile) takes us from a butcher shop, to a living
room, to an office, to a café and a hallway to mention just a few of the
whirlwind stops to the conclusion of the murderous intentions of the
Though immensely engaging – I felt that the first act did not come together
all that well. The second act is when things begin to happen in rapid
succession. Marion sets up an incredible sequence of events with one of her
employees who is forever trying to commit suicide but never seems to
succeed. I suppose that he is Churchill’s idea of some comic relief in the
play. However, what the revengeful Marion proposes gets out of hand. The
plot goes beyond what one would expect. The end is certainly a downer. Some
people might mistake Marion for a bitch – and they would be right.
THE PLAYERS: Trish Mulholland (Marion) is one of those rare actors who acts
without letting you know that she is. She’s a Marion made in heaven. John
Mercer (Alec) is Marion’s object of affection who she is determined to get
back by any means, or? Mercer’s role is low-key, he just sort of sits back
and let’s everyone tells him what to do. He’s a very strange man – and
Mercer plays it just right. Lisa is Alec’s wife – who seems to me to be
quite a bit neurotic. She talks too much and too loud. No wonder Alec seems
P- - - - y whipped. Zebra Berkman is the dramatically talented actress.
Howard Dillon is Marion’s hubby, the butcher. He plays an insensitive slob
but for some reason you like him. At least I did. Dillon brought out just
the right dimensions for this role. Ryan O’Donnel (Worsley) is the twisted,
eccentric nut that’s always trying to kill himself. He gives needed comic
relief to the play. O’Donnel was perfect for the part. He had just the right
nuances. Also good was Marilyn Stanley as Alec’s mother and Megan Kane who
plays several characters – all different types from a Customer to a
DIRECTOR PATRICK DOOLEY HAS GOOD INSIGHT INTO THIS KIND OF PLAY. HE DEFTLY
BALANCED THE DARKNESS WITH THE LIGHT. PLAYING AT THE SHOTGUN PLAYERS, THE
ASHBY STAGE, BERKELEY. This is their new “Stage”, and it’s a wonderful
space. Previously it was a modern church. In fact in the auditorium the pews
are still in place. Great space for this amazing group of players. “Owners”
will be on stage through Oct. 9.
RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!