A DULL PAIN TURNED SHARP by Carol Kaufman Segal
The world premiere of A Dull Pain Turned Sharp, is playing at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. It boasts a very talented cast that includes Barbara Brownell (Linda), Doug Haverty (Frank), Amy Earhart (Julie), Janet Wood (Elizabeth), and Todd Andrew Ball (Dorin). Kay Cole, who does a wonderful job directing the play, is a veteran in many fields, not only as a director, but as an outstanding choreographer, writer and teacher, as well as being a fine actress who has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and theaters throughout the U.S. The play was written by Brent Beerman.
Linda and Frank have been happily married for many years. They are in possession of a beautiful grandfather clock handed down to her from her great grandmother. During their early marriage, Linda had a number of miscarriages but finally safely carried through one pregnancy and had one daughter, Julie. Julie is a successful business woman, not interested in marriage or motherhood, much to the consternation of her parents. They long to have grandchildren in their lives. And to whom will Linda be able to pass down the family heirloom?
One afternoon, a stranger comes to see Linda, a Hungarian woman named Elizabeth who is the mother of Steven, Julie’s former beau from high school. She explains her reason for coming to see Linda by telling her that Steven passed away after being in the hospital in a coma for months after being beaten and she is in possession of his sperm. Since Julie always loved Steven, she wants her to take his sperm and bear his child. As we learn later, Steven was gay, but Elizabeth tried to put that fact out of her mind by rejecting his partner Dorin.
At first, Linda can’t believe what she is hearing, but, on second thought, she and Frank want a grandchild disparately, so she tells Julie about Elizabeth’s visit. Naturally, Julie tells her mother there is no way she would accept the idea, even though she loved Steven, and she also tells her mother he was gay.
Julie meets Dorin at Steven’s funeral, and after the two of them spend time together reminiscing about him, their love for him, and their loss, she suddenly changes her mind. She realizes that everyone could be happy if Elizabeth could accept Dorin with her and the baby, her parents would be blessed with a grandchild. And Linda could pass the family heirloom to Julie following her forthcoming marriage.
All of the cast members are perfect in their characterizations. Wood is amazing as Elizabeth with a perfect Hungarian accent and manner. Brent Beerman has infused some comical moments into the play, but I found the whole idea, and the outcome of it, just too incredulous. My enjoyment of the entire production came from the wonderful performances by the five actors who made it all worthwhile.
Performances of A Dull Pain Turned Sharp run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, through June 4. The Lonny Chapman Theatre is located at 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Tickets are available at www.thegrouprep.com, or at info@the grouprep.com, or by phone at (818) 763-5990.