January 27, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

‘The Snake Can’ Featuring Jane Kaczmarek On Stage At The Odyssey Theatre:

In a yeoman’s attempt at illuminating the emotional challenges of single life in the middle years, whether by divorce or death of a spouse, “The Snake Can” runs adrift with uneven direction by Steven Robman, spotty narrative by Kathryn Graf, and an inconsistent acting ensemble.

Briefly, the story, based on Graf’s own life, centers around three friends – Harriet played by the very talented Jane Kaczmarek, Meg played by stage trooper Sharon Sharth, and Nina played by Diane Cary. They are each in a different stage of singlehood. Kaczmarek’s Harriet is a widow of seven years and on the anniversary of her young husband’s death, decides to roll up her sleeves and reluctantly enter the world of Internet dating. Despite an interminable silly attempt to open a wine bottle at the beginning of the play, Kaczmarek, who lights up the stage with her consistent theatrical presence, gives one of the most outstanding performances of the evening and manages to delve deeply into the many layers of her complicated character.

Single for 10 years, Harriet’s good friend Meg, has had two unsuccessful marriages and bemoans the fact that she hasn’t had sex in years and that seems to be her primary goal – to get laid at the earliest moment, but despite her attempts, she keeps coming up empty, so to speak. She has one of the funniest lines in the play when she says, “I haven’t had sex in seven years; that’s not longing, that’s a medical emergency.” She warns Harriet of the perils of Internet dating citing instances where a guy could be married or in a relationship or not even living in her state.

Despite these warnings, Harriet engages in an email chat with Stephen, wonderfully played by James Lancaster, whose background with Ireland’s famed The Abbey Theatre and the Irish Theatre Company serve him well as the gentleman whom Harriet feels is a good match. He is a confessed bi-sexual but they become lovers and what is true of so many relationships, doubts begin to surface at which time he assures Harriet that he wants a committed, monogamous, heterosexual relationship.

Perhaps the most miscast person is Diane Cary who plays Nina. She recently separated from her actor husband to pursue an art career, but with a few exceptions, Cary doesn’t transcend line readings and throws away a lot of her dialogue. Again, given the lack of her technical skills, some directorial shaping of this character might have resulted in a different outcome. Gregory Harrison plays her husband Paul who laments that he just wants his life back and at the same time, tries desperately to seduce Nina’s best friend Meg who, despite her attraction, declines in the name of her friendship with Nina.

The last member of the ensemble is Joel Polis who plays two roles – Jake, a CPA who does not want to get intimate and Brad, one of Stephen’s former lovers. His character is a stereotypical, swishy gay with nothing much below the surface of the swish.

Another failure in direction was the uneven pacing with some of the pauses between cues big enough to drive a Mack truck through which could be attributed to either the actors going up on their lines or lack of guidance.

The technical aspects of the show were adequate but what in the world was Costume Designer Miguel Montalvo thinking dressing his cast in what looked like thrift-store rejects? Ill-fitting, wrinkled, unflattering dresses, and mismatched, drab colors did nothing to enhance the actors and in fact, detracted from the proceedings as one wondered why a costume designer would dress his actors, all of whom were supposed to be successful people, in such shabby clothing which detracted from the reality of who their characters were supposed to be.

With the single population in America at a record high, coupled with the isolation of our daily lives, Internet dating has become a viable and an expedient method of trying to meet someone, so a story of this nature is relevant and timely, despite it being flawed. Horror stories abound and friends do warn each other about the dangers – don’t have him pick you up, meet in a public place, don’t give your last name, etc., etc., and although Kaczmarek and Lancaster manage to keep the proceedings at a theatrical level, the play almost gets stuck at soap opera level.

“The Snake Can” refers to a children’s toy in a tin can that when you turn the handle, a snake pops up to surprise you. I suppose this is meant to be a dating metaphor in that you never know what surprises await you on that first Internet date. A bit obtuse, for sure.

The Odyssey Theatre

2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90025

Run: Thursday – Sunday 
Through February 24

Tickets: 310.477.2055, Ext. 2 or

www.OdysseyTheatre.com

in News
Related Posts

LA Citycouncilmember Mike Bonin Will Not Seek Reelection

January 26, 2022

January 26, 2022

Councilmember cites chronic depression in Wednesday announcement By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin has announced that he...

Current Progress of Permanent Veteran Housing on The West LA VA Campus

January 26, 2022

January 26, 2022

VA representatives give a tour of the current progress and future plans for permanent veteran housing on the West LA...

Pandemic Propels Lifelong Educators to Open New Preschool in the Palisades!

January 25, 2022

January 25, 2022

By Susan Payne Look out, Palisades: Two educators with more than 50 years combined experience are opening a new preschool...

Santa Monica Named LEED Platinum City

January 25, 2022

January 25, 2022

First city to achieve Platinum level certification in LEED for Cities Version 4.1.  By Sam Catanzaro The U.S. Green Building...

Arnold Schwarzenegger Involved in Brentwood Crash

January 24, 2022

January 24, 2022

No injuries reported in Friday incident By Sam Catanzaro Arnold Schwarzenegger was involved in a multi-vehicle crash in Brentwood Friday. ...

Report Finds That Santa Monica Spends Nearly $5 Million on Homeless Outreach

January 24, 2022

January 24, 2022

By Dolores Quintana A new report shows that the City of Santa Monica spends nearly $5 million on homeless outreach...

Homeless Man Violently Attacks Two Residents With Ties To City Council: Santa Monica Beat – January 24th, 2022

January 24, 2022

January 24, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.*  Homeless Man Violently Attacks Two Residents With Ties To City Council*  Families...

City Breaks Ground on Water Self-Sufficiency Project

January 24, 2022

January 24, 2022

City Representative Sunny Wang explains what the new improvements to the Arcadia Water Treatment Plant will mean for local residents..Video...

Euro Investment Firm Buys Santa Monica Whole Foods Property for Over $50 Million

January 24, 2022

January 24, 2022

Whole Foods Santa Monica property sold to Deka Group By Dolores Quintana One of Europe’s largest investment firms has purchased...

Preliminary Injunction Granted to Halt Demolition Of Parking Structure 3

January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022

January 24 hearing set following LA Superior Court Judge ruling By Dolores Quintana The Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association’s (SMBOA)...

Westside Home Prices Rising?

January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022

Redfin report shows 11.1 percent increase in median home prices By Dolores Quintana Are Westside home prices rising?  On the...

Film Review: “Don’t Look Up”

January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022

FILM REVIEWDON’T LOOK UPRated R138 MinutesReleased December 24th As with other Adam McKay movies, such as Vice and The Big...

Anti-Vaccine and Mask Rally Coming to Santa Monica This Weekend

January 20, 2022

January 20, 2022

Ocean Avenue protest will draw 300-400 people Saturday By Sam Catanzaro 300-400 people are expected to attend an anti-vaccine and...

Popular Taco Spot Coming to Santa Monica

January 19, 2022

January 19, 2022

Tacos Tu Made opening in former Obica space By Dolores Quintana A popular taco spot is opening its first Santa...

Arrest Made in Murder of Brianna Kupfer

January 19, 2022

January 19, 2022

Shawn Laval Smith in police custody By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested a man suspected of the murder of Brianna...