Last night I went to see Y York's new play Krisit
at Clifton Performance Theatre. It was an "industry night" with lots of
actors and theater types in the audience; I had the good luck to set
next to Ed Stern, former producing artistic director at the Cincinnati
Playhouse in the Park, recently returned from a glorious trip to Vietnam
guessing he was there in part to see Dale Hodges in York's comedy. Stern
has a long history with the local professional actress, who starred in Wit at the Playhouse back in 2000. More recently, Stern directed her in Mrs. Mannerly at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, and he told me he's re-assembling that production for an out-of-town engagement this summer.
play, staged by Mark Lutwak, who is the Cincinnati Playhouse's education
director (and also York's husband), is a ribald comedy with a point to
make about aging and superficial behavior. Hodges plays Krisit, a
onetime Hollywood starlet who has been a recluse for years, hiding from
cruel comments by media vultures, fed by jealous or wounded colleagues.
Most particularly, she seems to have been victimized by Peter (Kevin
Crowley) based on a long-ago potentially romantic encounter that went
astray. He remembers things differently, of course, and believes he was
the wronged party. Stirring the pot — or at least the hot tub — is LuLu
(Landree Fleming), a desperately aspiring producer who has wangled her
way into Krisit's life as a fawning domestic in hopes of parlaying the
connection into a career-making hook-up for Krisit's return to the
characters are obsessed with age, every one of them lying about how old
they really are — in L.A., where being over-the-hill might as well mean
being dead. York's script and the three actors milk a great deal of
humor out of all of this tale — two acts, about one hour 45 minutes with
an intermission. Clifton Performance Theatre's tiny space just east of
the Ludlow business district doesn't provide much glamor (it could be
lying about its age, too), but there's enough — including a red carpet, a
hot tub and a martini bar — to set the scene. Anna Goller designed the
set, and Gordon DeVinney pulled together costumes that augment the
characters. These include some amusing body suits that illustrate the
concerns of aging.
get to have a lot of fun with York's script, which ranges from vicious
to witty and back again. Hodges captures Krisit's vulnerability, but
also her steely core. Fleming's LuLu is no match for her, but we see her
gears spinning constantly. And Crowley's Peter, trying to reignite a
career that never really struck a flame before, is great fun to watch as
he lapses into interior monologues that he realizes everyone is
listening to. His desperate exchanges with his "crystal" are especially
amusing — as well as revealing. When they converge in and around the hot
tub for the final scene, well, it's adult situation comedy at its best.
KRISIT's final performances are set for May 30-June 1, all at 8pm. Tickets: 513-861-SHOW.