Thursday, April 26, 2012

Life and Death During War Time

Unrelenting Relaxation 
Stages Theater Fullerton
400 E. Commonwealth, Fullerton, CA
Written by Amanda DeMaio 
Directed by Mike Martin 
Through May 27 
Five Scoops of Bosco  

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

Taking In the play Unrelenting Relaxation, a tale of life during War Time, could not have come at a better time.

I, as many people, have been thinking a lot about how war effects each and every one of us lately. Especially since my young nephew, a Marine, went to Afghanistan in his first tour of duty. I have witnessed the effects of war first hand as my brother and his wife and our family have spent many sleepless nights worrying about my nephew's safety. Every time we hear of a report of a death in Afghanistan we worry...until we get the phone call or email saying everything is ok.

And it doesn't get any better when my nephew tells us stories like the time he was driving his Commanding Officer when a live grenade landed on the top of their vehicle.

Unrelenting Relaxation, an original play currently running at Fullerton's Stages Theater, written by local Amanda DeMaio, tells the tale of five women who witness first hand the brutality of World War II. The story is told through a series of interviews.

The play starts out and ambles along easy and slow but as it progresses and you get more involved in the story, it builds in intensity until it is almost too much to listen. I personally at the end almost could not bear to hear the heartbreaking tale of these women, based on true events.

Excellent story telling by DeMaio who interweaves the interviews with extreme creativity. This jumping and interplay of stories between the five characters and the interviewer is a great device because it keeps you mentally in the story. It's not a dialogue... its a quintalogue, so to speak, used to great effect.

All the actresses (Arlyn McDonald, Elizabeth Serra, Nancy Tyler, Jill Cary Martin, and Jennifer Pearce) are wonderful. The performances are memorable and will stick with you. Each actress must speak with an accent based on where their character is from. There is German, British, French, Polish, and Dutch accents and all are done well.

Great minimal set design by Jon Gaw, Mike Martin, and Brian Fichtner that utilizes the whole area of the intimate theater. And the use of sound and music by David Chorley is understated, well done and does not interfere with the actors performances.

I highly recommend this play.

 It runs until May 27.

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