Bakersfield Mist: Educating Rita meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Starring Diane Cary, John Mawson
Writer: Stephen Sachs
Director: Amir Korangy
Producer/Set Design: Mia Christou
Theatre Comapny: Visible Ink
Beverly Hills Playhouse
The chemistry between the two characters was very reminiscent to me of educating Rita. There is an emphasis on a divide in class. One is "trailer trash", the other is a famous figure of the art world. By the end of the play, the two have developed a common ground where you wouldn't expect it.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf:
An outspoken mother in denial and clinging onto her sanity is all she has left. Feeling uncomfortable can be a wonderful feeling watching a play. It's like a wreck you can't help but watch.
A lonely working class bartender called Maude who finds what could be the discovery of a lifetime at a junk sale. A Jackson Pollack. A world-famous art expert is flown in to examine the painting and he is quick to call it a fake. The rest of the play deals with the two sharing theirs pasts and Maude's desperate attempts of convincing him the painting is indeed real and not a fake.
I went into this play not knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. Directed expertly by seasoned actor Amir Korangy, Bakersfield Mist brings laughs and sympathy for it's characters. The comedic back and forth dialogue between Diane Cary and John Mawson is delivered in an entertaining way. Maude's lack of an indoor voice and Perry's stiff reservedness creates punchlines in the actors reactions of each other alone. You feel a lot of sympathy for Maude. She is very much trapped in this world and without spoiling the story, this painting has become the only hope she has left. Maude is an unreliable narrator and you leave the show questioning her point of view.
The set is filled with animals sculptures and what I got from that is she is very much in the wilderness of her own mind. Separated from reality and relying simply on her animal instincts to act on. She tries everything she can to convince this man of her truth.
Having the possible Jackson Pollack on display the majority of the play, you begin to connect it to the action happening between the two characters. Like a Pollack, the longer you look at the chaos in the colors, the more meaning you begin to derive from it. There was a production brought to the West End with Kathleen Turner back in 2014 where they kept the painting hidden throughout the show, supposedly to remove the audience giving their own judgement towards the art's realness.
The Beverly playhouse is a brilliant space. I would change the name of the place to the bunker, because of the intimate and almost submarine like feel it gave me. It starts out with the man getting barked about by some dogs. Maude is apologetically outspoken which makes her strangely likable and hilarious. She is uninhibited in being herself which contrasts wonderfully with the stuck up man. This is her story, but the man is the one who is changed by the end of it. Not necessarily with his actions, but you can tell that is world has been shaken upon this interaction with this woman.
For the chemistry between two seasoned actors, it's worth the ticket. Go see this show!