Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mud Blue Sky: ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

Four characters in a hotel room, three are old-school stewardesses and one is their pot dealer: what's not to like? Nothing, really. Marisa Wegrzyn's mom was a flight attendant back in the day and the daughter must have absorbed a lot of her mom's horror stories. But "Mud Blue Sky" is less about flying than it is about the relationships of four people dealing with their own issues while caught up in a temporary community.

Jamie Jones plays Beth, who enters the hotel exhausted, kicks off her shoes one at a time, with delight the entire audience can feel, then flops down on the bed. Enter Sam (Rebecca Dines), a somewhat younger co-worker who is anxious to get out of the hotel and do some partying with Beth and their one-time co-worker Angie (Laura Jane Bailey) in a local bar.

Beth demurs, but she has a reason: she needs to see Jonathan, played to perfection by Devin S. O'Brien, a high-schooler with whom Beth has a previous history. Jonathan, though he has just been jilted by his date for the prom, is tall and handsome, but also young, painfully shy and in need of friendship. He has something to offer each woman, but the most important is his obvious affection for Beth.

Bailey, as the overweight Angie (she got fired by the airline because of her weight issues), seems especially honest and vulnerable, in contrast to Dines's Sam, who is trying to play a sexpot role she doesn't really feel, due to issues she is having with her own teenager. Jones's Beth is multi-dimensional, and in the end so is this story, as we relate to real life problems in our momentary glance at four everyday people.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Mud Blue Sky" Three Stars with a BANGLE OF PRAISE. It's a long one-act that never gets tiresome, which is always an indication of fine direction (by Tom Ross). Story and acting deserve the other two stars, and the BANGLE is for Angie's long and touching monologue at the end.

Wegrzyn also writes for TV, and the story has a bit of a TV feel to it -- beginning, middle, end, tidy. Nothing wrong with that.

"Mud Blue Sky"
Aurora Theater
2081 Addison Street, Berkeley
EXTENDED through Oct 3

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