The holidays and grief have always made for combustible drama, and playwright SHEILA CALLAGHAN’s Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)has plenty of emotional tinder on hand.
You have the widowed Mother (played by CARRIE KERANEN) facing her first Christmas—and her panic attacks– without her beloved husband. There’s her daughter Janice (KATE WRONOWSKI), making her dolls voice feelings too raw with pain to own directly. Both Mother and Janice call upon their respective household Hollywood gods (Harrison Ford for Mother and Justin Timberlake for Janice), with JOHN HALBACH maintaining a divine balance between humor and pathos. And LISA ROTHSCHILLER (understudy for ALYSSA PRESTON) finds that same sweet spot in her portrayal of Mother’s cat lady sister Barbara, whose infertility makes her season of sorrow unending.
Director JEREMY ALUMA sets Crumble ablaze with the playwright’s stoke-of-genius character: The Apartment (BRENDAN HUNT), aided and abetted by STACI WALTER’s wonderfully-realized dilapidated apartment set and CHRISTY HAUPTMAN’s spot-on costume. Anyone who has entered a building and immediately sensed happiness or sadness will wonder why such a character wasn’t created sooner. The interplay of The Apartment’s scheming, Mother’s mourning and Janice’s dreaming makes for inspired drama.
Crumble made me think about Detroit, a city that once—like The Apartment—knew grander and happier times. Crumbled buildings, crumbling hopes. Silent screams from broken windows. They say “the walls have ears” but do we? Well, perhaps Crumble will provoke different musings in you. See this play and find out. You may receive a holiday gift that will linger long after the toys have been trashed.
Runs through December 18. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sunday, December 18 at 7:00 pm. Sacred Fools Theater is at 660 N. Heliotrope Drive off Melrose and close to the Hollywood Fwy. Security parking next door for $5. Tickets are $20 General admission; $16 Students and Seniors. Visit www.sacredfools.org or call (310) 281-1788.