There’s nothing funny about a dying grandfather, first-degree manslaughter, and an attempt of suicide, but somehow all three can be found in Archbishop McCarthy’s hilariously twisted production of "Crimes of the Heart."
Written in 1978 by Beth Henley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning show, Crimes of the Heart centers on the misfortunes in the lives of Meg, Lenny, and Babe, the three MaGrath sisters, who are reunited at their Old Granddaddy's home in Hazlehurst, Mississippi after Babe, the youngest sister, is arrested for shooting her abusive husband. The dysfunctional trio works together to keep Babe out of prison while also dealing with their own family resentments and unresolved personal problems.
Alexandra Zadak (Lenny), Rachel O’Hara (Meg), and Emilie Colon (Babe) worked absolutely seamlessly together as the troubled MaGrath sisters. They all had noticeably distinctive characters that showed the age and level of maturity of each sister. The most admirable aspect of their performance was the purpose and motivation behind every action. The slightest flick of a cigarette had an intent that kept the storyline realistic and believable. The comedic timing of the MaGrath sisters was necessary for this tragic comedy and was very well executed throughout the piece. Each sister made specific moments of the play her own: Lenny singing “Happy Birthday” to herself; and Babe stepping into the kitchen with a chandelier tied to her neck with a rope after her failed attempt of suicide were among some of the strongest moments of the production.
Bella Miulescu who played Chick Boyle, a cousin to the Magrath sisters, made a memorable contribution to the cast. Her line delivery and the way she carried herself on stage as the demanding and intruding family member added lots of humor to the plot. There was never a dull moment when she was onstage because it was entertaining to see the interaction between Chick’s insults and degrading remarks to the sisters and their reactions. For only have taken on the roles of Meg and Chick two and a half weeks before the opening of this show, O’Hara and Miulescu did an incredibly commendable job.
The lighting of the stage and the set where two technical elements that were integral to the success of the show. Andrea Gonzalez, the lighting director, kept the lighting very naturalistic and simplistic, which added to the believability of the piece. The “rays of sunshine” that came shining in through the kitchen window in the third act really helped set the mood of the early morning that this specific part of the play was taking place in.
Archbishop McCarthy’s small six-person cast of "Crimes of the Heart" did a magnificent job with the performance of this play and left us with the important reminder that sometimes you just have to laugh at the bad moments in life and keep moving on.