Saturday, September 7, 2013

Word for Word: "In Friendship" by Zona Gale: ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

The expressions of Patricia Silver and Joanne Winter notwithstanding, Word for Word's latest presentation of five short stories by the early twentieth-century author Zona Gale is absolutely charming. It takes its time to get going, but by the last story "Covers for Seven" we are wrapped up happily in the small town world of Friendship, Wisconsin, somewhere around 1910.

"Friendship," "The Java Entertainment" and "The Cold Shoulder" start us off by presenting the townspeople going about their daily routines.  We love Mrs. Postmaster Sykes (Nancy Shelby), the town's society lady, Miss Amanda Toplady (Amy Kassow), who is trying her best to go with the flow, and you can't help but relish Joel Mullenix's voice as Timothy Toplady. The entire cast keeps us laughing and moving forward towards Act Two, when "Nobody Sick, Nobody Poor" and "Covers for Seven" create one of the most heartwarming Thanksgiving stories we have seen in years. This show could become a Thanksgiving staple, in much the same way we look forward to Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" each year.

Special kudos to Jeri Lynn Cohen as Calliope Marsh, Ms. Gale's true voice of reason, and, as always, for the precise choreography of the Word for Word team. We never get enough of this company.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "In Friendship" by Zona Gale Three Stars with a Bangle of Praise. The story, cast and direction deserve one star each and the Bangle is for those wonderful firemen, who manage to disassemble a fire station that doesn't even exist. Great stuff.

Word for Word's "In Friendship" by Zona Gale
Z Space Theater
470 Florida Street, San Francisco
EXTENDED through September 13

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