In her latest play, The War Since Eve, Michigan playwright Kim Carney frames a compelling portrait of the Women’s Liberation movement – juxtaposing the vitriolic 1970s-era radicals with the confident but conflicted contemporary women they engendered.
The three-woman cast of this world-premiere comedy at Performance Network Theatre is a delight to watch in action.
Henrietta Hemelin plays 70-something Roxie Firestone, a pioneer feminist who is about to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is lavishly hilarious, but at everyone else’s expense – her daughters’, fellow feminists’, and a long list of male lovers’. Hemelin somehow manages to make us love Roxie even when she most deserves to be bitch-slapped.
Sarab Kamoo plays Tara, her estranged adult daughter who chose the life of a traditional housewife. Kamoo plays the role so that we can clearly see her mother’s influence – even when she is seemingly rejecting that influence.
Leah Smith is perhaps the true protagonist of this comedy. As Roxie’s other daughter, Milty, the loyal manager, publicist, personal assistant and dogsbody, she finally internalizes the essential message of her mother’s crusade and learns to make her own choices.
Although the entire play takes place in a gracious Washington, D.C. hotel room (designed by Sarah Tanner with a lovely glimpse of the Capitol) there are plenty of ‘local color’ references to Detroit and Ann Arbor, which the character of Roxie calls home.
The ‘action’ of the play lies in Carney’s clever dialog, which PNT Artistic Director, David Wolber, keeps zinging along like a strategically choreographed rubberband fight.
Commenting on the strong but unique women characters that make this show work, Wolber says, ‘That’s part of why we love Kim’s work here at the Network – not only does she write heartwarming and hilarious scripts, she always creates a wonderful range of characters as well.’
The War Since Eve features lighting design by Mary Cole, costumes by Suzanne Young, sound by Will Myers and properties by Charles Sutherland.
The War Since Eve runs at The Performance Network Theatre through February 13 – Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m., with a 3:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday January 29th and February 12th.
Tickets can be ordered at the Performance Network Box Office at 734-663-0681, online or by coming to the Performance Network Theatre (120 East Huron St., Ann Arbor, 48104) Monday-Saturday 11-6 or one hour before a performance. Tickets are priced at $22 – $41, with discounts available for seniors, members, students and groups.
This production is generously sponsored by Abracadabra Jewelry/Gem Gallery and WEMU.