The New York Farm Bureau is pushing...
The production of "Another Home Invasion" by award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod that has opened the season in the Firehall Theatre at the 1000 Islands Playhouse is of the same high quality I've come to expect from the Firehall. Starring Terry Tweed and directed by Tarragon Theatre's Artistic Director Richard Rose, it's a powerful and often funny look at the difficulty of aging with dignity.
In Jean Miss MacLeod has created a strong, funny and vibrant elderly woman who still lives in her own house with her husband, Alec. In her attempt to find a place where they can move together, she hides Alec's growing dementia from both the social worker and her daughter, Bethy.
This may sound like a downer--but believe me, it's not. It's just very human and deals with a difficult situation eventually faced by every one of us in one way or another.
Terry Tweed is wonderful as Jean, a feisty optimist who refuses to give up or let down. Her sense of humor about Alec, who likes to doze off to sleep to the sound of the dishwasher, is in direct contrast with her pain when relating Alec's clock test with the doctor. She's all business, keeping her notes for the social worker and we see flashes of the young Jean in her memories of haying. Even her body language is on the nose, especially her feet when she's seated. Miss Tweed gives a complex and many-layered performance that brings Jean fully to life.
Scott Reid's simple set works beautifully in the space, with the leafy carpet lending a vibrant touch of color. Jenifer Darbellay's costume is just fine, especially the shoes and wig. The lighting by David Fraser is excellent, in particular the subtle light on the empty walker.
Director Richard Rose, whose work I've always admired, has done a masterful job of directing and staging the piece. I assume he's responsible for the affecting choice of music and the subtle sound. There's just enough movement so that the play never becomes static. The unusually slow fade of light at the end is timed perfectly.
Mr. Rose and Miss Tweed together have plumbed the depths of both this play and this wonderfully brave character. To quote the playwright: "Drama is such a profoundly human art form." "Another Home Invasion" explores one character's most human dilemma and gives us the courage to face our own.
On a scale of one to five, both the material and the Tarragon Theatre production of "Another Home Invasion" playing at the Firehall get five Dalmatians.