Where Cries are Heard
By Marcina Zaccaria
Is Homemaking an Art or is it a Lost Cause? Lucy DeVito sifts through the sadness in In Quietness at Walkerspace.
Within the world of The Homemaking House – part of a Southern Baptist seminary – women’s work is explored. In Anna Moench’s full-length play, newly married and engaged women (with less than 10 years of marriage behind them) figure their way through daily chores like folding laundry and washing windows.
Lucy DeVito (Love, Loss & What I Wore), as Beth, is fervent and forthright, claiming her rights before marriage. Meanwhile, Max, skillfully played by Kate MacCluggage (The Farnsworth Invention on Broadway), fights through her relationship Paul, played by Blake DeLong. After he admits to having an affair, the former CEO lands at a The Homemaking House in Texas. Common ground is sought.
At The Homemaking House, both women find a way to unburden their heart. Confessing, shouting, and mopping it out, their firm opinions are revealed. Their strength is as important as their allegiance. Their vows are meant to be heard. They must keep a clean house, and define the larger struggles that can explode or dissolve a relationship.
Through the arguments and late night heart-to-heart chats, Max and Beth are confidants without being conspirators. In a world of Christian values, they navigate their alliances. At the seminary, the hand of God never strikes. Instead, the women share the vast space and the hours to consider the paths their lives have taken. The men are not to be appeased or exalted. The women are not humble servants, but rather architects of their future, with all of the life skills to move forward. Alley Scott, a program director of sorts, is a reminder that the 1950s finishing school mentors are still present today – providing the table and the forum for the women to find their voice.
In the newest phase of their life’s journey, Max and Beth seek to find their feminism and their power. The shriek in a muted world of sound (courtesy of their sound designer, Asa Wember), lets us know that if there are cries in the dark, they would be heard.
Director Danya Taymor (My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer at The Flea) allows subtlety and differentiation in the onstage performances. Though these women are created equal, they might not all be created the same. The monochromatic scenic design, created by Kristen Robinson, provides the splashes of color, dotting the emotional landscape with bright, blue mops and yellow flowers. The frame of the house draws the eye up. There is a clear, blue sky with clouds where the lead actors can look up and dream. In this world, expressively lit by Masha Tsimring and Caitlin Smith Rapoport, the trappings of success are only a few steps away.
In Quietness runs through January 30 at Walkerspace, located at 46 Walker Street, between Church and Broadway.
Photos: Christopher Genovese