Gordon Danieli created a Broadway-caliber set for Snowing at Delphi, but the show that filled it was not quite so distinguished. The script was mostly to blame, since it operates on a sitcom level of realism and features a few truly annoying characters. Good production qualities and pacing redeemed Infinite Space's effort.
The play is about three couples spending Christmas-but not celebrating the holiday-in upstate New York. The house is a stewpot of anger and trauma: the marriage of hosts Sarah and Nick has been irreparably damaged by a recent freak incident that caused her to lose the baby she was carrying; Sarah's college pal Marcy can't stand but can't leave her boyfriend of nine months, Gary, who claims he always falls under the spell of "castrating" women even though he's the one who acts like a patronizing know-it-all; and Sarah's friend Allan arrives with nine-months-pregnant Brenda, who was broke, homeless and suicidal (she was impregnated during a gang rape) when Allan took her in.
By the final scene-set six months after Christmas-Marcy has left Gary, Brenda is psychologically recovered and living comfortably, Sarah has a baby to care for, Nick's acting career has been revived (he fled New York City after a devastating review), and Gary and Allan finally get it right with women. But is this upbeat conclusion satisfying for an audience? Gary is so obnoxious during the first three-quarters of the play that he doesn't deserve a happy ending, and his drastic conversion to a sensitive guy is completely unrealistic (if only it were so easy to get men to change their relationship-sabotaging behavior!). And the coupling of Marcy and Allan isn't that romantic either-although well-meaning, he is too bombastic to be a sympathetic character. (Plus, the audience is left wondering if she actually fell in love with him or he just forced himself on her because he was infatuated.) Nick was the only likable man in the bunch, notwithstanding his actorly self-absorption, yet he's the one who turns out to be dispensable. And are we supposed to pleased with Brenda's solution to her financial problems-letting virtual strangers support her?
The script has other holes in it: why, for example, is Sarah's doomed pregnancy her "last chance"? Why is Marcy unhappy she's finally making a living at her art (puppetry)? Like the character and story development, the cast of Snowing at Delphi was uneven. The men were adequate but unremarkable. Jill Perin and Martha Kayte were OK, too-that is, if Perin's occasional woodenness was an intentional depiction of Sarah's repressed anger and if Kayte's thick New York accent was created for her character rather than the result of her inability to hide her real accent. Only Kathy Kelly Christos gave an incontrovertible, fully realized portrayal-daffy but never dumb as Marcy, by far the most pleasant person in the house.
The real star of this ensemble drama was the beautiful set. It included a full kitchen, a fireplace and views of a snow-covered porch and wintry-leafless trees through the door and window. The furniture and accouterments looked like those in a real home, not like cast members' discards and flea-market finds.
(Also featuring Eric Bennett, Larry Preston, James
Michael Taylor. Lighting, Alan Baron; sound, Larry
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Copyright 2001 Adrienne Onofri