By Sue Morgan
If the Bronte sisters and Alfred Hitchcock had a love child, they would produce The Moors, currently playing through October 23rd at Main Stage West in Sebastopol.
An absurdist gothic romance/surrealistic existential dreamscape/satiric black comedy by playwright Jen Silverman, the story is set in an eerie mansion on the desolate and windswept English moors, ̀a la the Brontes and involves gaslighting, madness and mayhem ̀a la Hitchcock.
…Intentionally lugubrious in tone, the plot is best left undescribed…
Silverman manages to elicit amusement, horror, compassion, revulsion, revelation, tension and relief from her audience and does so using characters as disparate as a scullery maid/parlor maid (Marjory/Mallory), a dominating house Mistress (Agatha), and her flibbertigibbet younger sister (Huldey), a hapless governess (Emilie), a bullied and lonely mastiff, and a wounded Moorhen. Branwell, the purportedly physically and sexually violent brother of Agatha and Huldey, is locked in the attic and never seen, nor heard. “Branwell” is the middle name of the Bronte sisters’ real-life brother.
Intentionally lugubrious in tone, the plot is best left undescribed, as watching it unfold is a wonder to behold. Silverman is a master of imagination and one of the things I love most about her plays is being unable to anticipate what lies ahead.
The entire ensemble is excellent in their respective roles, and I can’t say any one performance outshone the others. Director James Pelican did an outstanding job of accentuating the outlandish with subtlety, which somehow increased the merriment while deepening the sense of foreboding.
The Moors is not for everyone, but those who enjoy a dark satirical farce (as I do) will have plenty to talk about with their friends after the show.
Contributing Writer Sue Morgan is a literature-and-theater enthusiast in Sonoma County’s Russian River region. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Written by||Jen Silverman|
|Directed by||James Pelican|
|Producing Company||Main Stage West|
|Production Dates||Through Oct. 23, 2022|
|Production Address||Main Stage West
104 N Main St
Sebastopol, CA 95472
|Reviewer Score||Max in each category is 5/5|
|Aisle Seat Review PICK!||YES|