The problem with inter-generational drama is that it’s usually a sausage fest. Whether it’s Saturn devouring his sons or Tyrion Lannister crossbowing his dad while he sits in the privy, these stories are usually about men fighting over power, money and any number of variants on the Oedipal theme. It is then all the more refreshing to sit down to a play about women, a mother and her daughters, fighting over art and identity.
Calla Wright’s The Love Harmonic is the story of Roxanne, a formidable literary prima donna and less than stellar parent, and her three daughters who are left to deal with the aftermath of her sudden death. The mother’s death means that her renowned book series, the eponymous Blood Harmonic, has been left unfinished. The daughters set aside their complicated feelings of grief as they joust to decide who will finish writing the books.
The play certainly benefits from some terrific acting and versatile range. Jude Beny inhabits Roxanne in a way that inspires both awe and exasperation. Anne-Marie Saheb and Jen Viens’ rendition of two emotionally stunted sisters is rich in caustic repartee, while Victoria Smith’s Cora convincingly goes from whiny to euphoric to self-assured.
On the other hand, the character of Fred and his shy-potential-serial-killer spiel feels somewhat formulaic. In terms of timing and scenes the play moves along swimmingly, but Roxanne’s final monologue manages to both drag for longer than needed while rushing to tie all the loose ends before drawing to a close.
In terms of art direction the decor is plush and rich in lovely hues, without it taking away from the acting. The wardrobe, conjuring jazz and beatnik sensibilities, played an important role in creating an atmosphere of literary suavity matching the plot. Overall, WeAreOne Theatre’s is a very enjoyable story with interesting snippets of clever dialogue and important questions about the creative potential of personal tragedy.
The Blood Harmonic is showing at the MainLine Theatre from April 28th to May 1st.