Mendocino Theater Co.’s “The Shaker Chair” playing through May 4
Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

This review is by Larry Wagner, photographer and avid play-goer.

Don’t miss The Shaker Chair, the current play at Mendocino Theater Company. A new production, having had its World Premier in 2005, is the story of Marion, the level headed type who wears sensible shoes, trying to deal with:

1. her radical friend, Jean, who is incensed by the management of a local pig farm
2. her sister, Dolly, who is distraught over the philandering of her husband, Frank

The play is funny. The dialogue is creative and challenging, with hardly anyone finishing a sentence – but you know what they are trying to say, and the cast is marvelous. Ann Kyle Brown is totally credible as Marion, as she struggles with the meaning of the Shakers’ philosophy and their uncomfortable straight-backed chairs; Ann Woodhead is delightfully devious as she enrolls Marion in her schemes; Michelle Deering, a newcomer to the MTC stage but obviously well trained in drama, displays wonderful talent as the weak-willed, sniffling wife to the callous, Frank (played by Allan Droyan). Incidentally, Frank has the most wonderful comeback line I have ever heard, proving there is no defense like a good offense (and I won’t tell you what it is). He was lucky that in its deliverance he didn’t have every woman in the audience come down on the stage and throttle him.

The cast was rounded out by Michael Rossetti and Monica Lancaster who play eco-terrorists, Tom and Lou. They are appropriately scary.

Kudos to the Artistic Committee for finding this play and to Carter Sears for a wonderful job of directing.

The play is without intermission and you will be out of there by 10 pm. It runs from April 3 until May 4. Call 937-4777 for reservations.

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