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September 19, 2014

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Page 8 POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 I recently ~to0k in a perfor- mance of the Boston pre- miere of the musical Far From Heaven presented by the SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, directed by Scott Edmiston. The play is based on the 2002 Todd Haynes movie of the same name. Having not seen the movie, and knowing little about the play, I was not sure what to expect. What I did have was an afternoon of beauti- ful scenery, wonderful music, and some very heavy BY BOBBY FRANKLTN Jennifer Ellis and Maurice Emmanuel Parent. drama that forced me to think about many things. The play is set in idyllic 1957 Hartford, Connecticut. For those of us old enough to remember the television shows from that time, you will recognize the settings. The lovely housewife, Cathy Whitaker (Jennifer Ellis) in an evening dress tending to the affairs of the home. This is all captured in the opening vocal "Autumn In Connecticut" where she is directing the children while planning a party. At first I thought this would be a take- off on the TV programs I grew tip with. What I got was much more than that. Cathy's forced smile is hid- ing her feelings of being trapped in her surroundings. The wonderful use of differ- ent picture frames as props that the actors stand behind represent the boxes so many people then, and now, put themselves in. Boxes from which it is difficult to escape. The women in Cathy's social circle are all in their own boxes, all very similar and all very superficial. They are smiling at each other and talking about the wonderful lives they lead in the song "Marital Bliss," where they discuss the frequency of their sex lives, but the pain is there. Cathy ap- pears awkward during this discussion. Framing the 1950s Far from Heaven SpeakEasy Stage Company - Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Through October 1 lth Raymond Deagan (Maurice Emmanuel Parent) is the Whitaker's gardener. He owns a flower shop he took over from his late father. Raymond is also a "negro." Cathy be- gins to step slightly out of her box when she begins talking with Raymond. She begins to learn some life lessons in the number "Sun And Shade." Later she runs into Raymond at an art gallery where she shares time with him while looking at a Miro painting. This is done while they are facing the audience while looking through a large frame. The larger frame gives her more room to think and begin opening her mind. Her curiosity is aroused about what it is to be dif- ferent and asks Raymond about it in "The Only One." He then takes her to a place where she is the only one, a club in his neighborhood where being white evokes a hostile welcome from the people there. She begins to see what it feels like to be different. Things really start coming apart in Cathy's life when she discovers her husband Frank (Jared Troilo) has been leading a closeted gay life. Late nights at the office aren't being spent with a female secretary, but with another man. When Cathy like to be the only one. Her marriage has now crumpled and her friends have left her. What seems to be such a tragic turn of events has in- stead allowed Cathy Whitaker to step through her frame and realize she can be a real person. It feels good. Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg wrote the book. The music and lyrics are by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie are perfect. They convey the emotions and depth of what is happen- Aimee Doherty, Jennifer Mischley, Jennifer Ellis and Rachel Gianna Tassio (Marital Bliss}. discovers them embracing, she tries to make things right. Frank goes to into therapy to cure his "disease" and tries to become "normal," but it doesn't work. In the meantime Cathy is spotted Out with Raymond, and the gossip begins. She fires him and denies being close to him, even though she had been written up in the soci- ety pages as being "kind to negroes." In "Cathy, I'm Your Friend," Cathy's friend Eleanor tells her she can confide anything to her, as she knows she is going through the same diffi- culties. It turns out that Eleanor can only deal with talking about the same problems she is dealing with. This works as long as Cathy stays within the frame she lives in.When she finds out Cathy has strayed further afield she abandons her. Cathy now knows what it is ing in this not so happy neighborhood. Jennifer Ellis is outstand- ing with a beautiful voice. She has the talent to take us on Cathy's journey through pain and then to discovery of who she really is. A strong cast that includes Jared Troflo as her husband Frank, joins her in a very emotion- ally charged part that Mr. Troflo handles superbly. The scenery and lighting brought the 1950s to life while not being overwhelm- ing. The use of the frames conveyed s9 much more than what I have written. It was truly brilliant. "Far From Heaven" is a beautiful play with a great score, but it is not a toe tapping musical. It will play on your emotions and force you to think about your own frame. It can be scary at times, but you will be glad you saw it. I know I am. RECBYE AN APY ON THE ABOVE RATE WHEN YOU OPEN A CHECIONG ACCOUNT WITH DIRECT DEPOSIT*I Visit our new branch located at 389 Hanover Street to open your account today! I 800-BANK-EAGLE (1) Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of 9/17/14. Accounts must be opened at the North End branch only. New money only. A penalty may be imposed for early withdrawal. Rates may vary and are subject to change without notice. Minimum balance to open the CD and earn the APY is $500. (2) To receive the additional 0.25% APY to earn 1.25% APY, you must maintain an Eagle Bank checking account with a monthly direct deposit from payroll, pension or Social Security for the entire term of the Special 2 Year Step-Up D. If you do not currently have direct deposit in your Eagle Bank checking account, you must have an acceptable direct deposit transaction within 90 days of opening the Special 2 Year Step-Up CD. Failure to maintain an Eagle Bank checking account with a monthly direct deposit from payroll, pension or Social Security for the entire initial two year term of the Special 2 Year Step-Up CD will result in the interest rate and APY resetting to a lower, default interest rate (APY of the current 2 Year Step-Up Certificate at the time of default). Upon maturity, the CD will convert to a regular, 2 Year Step-Up Certificate term. The additional 0.25% APY for maintaining a checking account with direct deposit will NO LONGER apply at that time. Member FDIC I Member DIF Jared Troilo and Jennifer Ellis (Dancing In Miami). (Photos by Craig Bailey~Perspective Photo) Thoughts by Dan (Continued from Page 5) most profitable ventures as it went on to wide release. The influence of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the history of animation is impossible to estimate, but it changed the course of animation forever. It sent the rival Fleischer Studio scrambling to duplicate its success with its own feature film, but Gulliver's Travels was a dud with shaky ani- mation (a clumsy attempt to imitate Disney's life-like drawings} and dull charac- ters. Snow White's influence even extended from the ani- mation realm, proving the value of fantasy films for other studios. Without Snow White, M-G-M would likely never have made The Wizard of Oz. Yes, Snow White is a cinematic landmark. But for Walt Disney and American animation it was just a beginning.