PHOTO: In Peninsula Players Theatre’s production of “A Real Lulu,” Greg Vinkler, right, portrays the new governor of
Peninsula Players Theatre gave “A Real Lulu” its world premiere performance Tuesday night. Performances continue through July 5. Info: www.peninsulaplayers.com.
Creative: Playwright –Paul Slade Smith; director –Tom Mula; scenic designer – Sarah E. Ross; costume designer – Pamela J. Rehberg; lighting designer – Stephen Roy White; sound designer – Megan B. Henninger; production stage manager – Deya S. Friedman; properties designer – Jim Lichon; production manager – Sarah Burnham; scenic artist – Rebecca Beaudoin.
Cast: Ned Newley – Greg Vinkler; Dave Riley – Sean Fortunato;
The professional theater – the capstone of all theater in this region – is starting its 80th season with this production. Players artistic director Greg Vinkler not only plays “A Real Lulu” as a trump card, he plays the catalytic role of the new governor of
The play is about politics and government. That sounds like yawn material, but Smith nimbly maneuvers the topics toward a blend of comedy, farce and satire about what
Spoilers abound in this play. There are many, many surprises. Even explaining the title would spoil the fun for future audiences.
The setup: Larry Clark (unseen except for his large photo portrait) has been swept out of office as governor of
First main joke: Newley is not a public animal. He’s a drone who knows his job well and relishes doing it in the background. Newley’s swearing in (not seen) is five minutes of pure panic attack. He is a disaster in public.
Second main joke: Brought in to help with the basics is a temporary secretary,
Soon part of the action are a pollster (Katherine Keberlein) and a political Mr. Fixit (Brad Armacost). They calculate the best way for Newley to not be immediately drummed out of office for his surface incompetence is to promptly make a TV appearance. It’s arranged that the Channel 3 political reporter (Linda Fortunato) and her cameraman (Neil Friedman) will be on hand.
Everything happens rapid fire.
The governor’s office is wonderfully rendered. Along with looking gubernatorial, six paintings dress each side of the stage and include a scene of gathering maple sap (for
The cast is excellent all around. Every character is finely wrought. Certain things Vinkler and Grennan add are amazing. A few instances: Vinkler is a masterful mumbler; Grennan sends up platitudes like pop-pop-pop little fireworks.
In “A Real Lulu,” Smith is witty and clever and smart. He’s mean, too, about such things as TV reporting and political punditry – though not undeserved, considering what the American public sees on today’s landscape. Anyway, they’re fair game for satire.
“A Real Lulu” is the second Smith play the Players troupe has premiered. The first was “Unnecessary Farce” in 2007. Smith also has acted in the Players company. At present, Smith is performing on Broadway in “Finding Neverland.” Smith flew in from
The evening opened with the traditional brief marks to recognize a new season. Managing director Brian Kelsey pointed with pride to the more than 500 shows, more than 600 interns and audiences in the hundreds of thousands who have been part of the “world-class theater.” Then “A Real Lulu” director Tom Mula said a remarkable thing, that he will die happy knowing that he was the original director for “A Real Lulu.” And then what happened proved such a strong statement. Out rolled the play that Mula’s keen skills helped fashion, a highly developed production of a great American play.
(By bizarre coincidence, the car ahead of mine leaving the parking lot after the play bore a license plate from
REST OF SEASON: “Dial M for Murder” by Frederick Knott, July 8-26; “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig, July 29-Aug. 16; “Outside Mullingar” by John Patrick Shanley, Aug. 19-Sept. 6; “Nunsense” by Dan Goggin, Sept. 9-Oct. 18.
THE VENUE: The location is about atmosphere – tall cedars and pines and shoreline vistas along the
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