IN MY MIND’S EYE by Carol Kaufman Segal
In My Mind’s Eye, written by Lonny Chapman’s Artistic Director, Doug Haverty, is being presented by the Group Rep, the first presentation of their 46th season, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. This play is a revival that was the first full-length play produced years ago in the Lonny Chapman Theatre. It became an award-winning play and is every bit as meaningful, thought-provoking and compelling as it was then. The play was inspired by true events, and is based on a legally-blind female public school teacher who was Haverty’s teacher when he was in the 7th grade.
Patty is a young precocious school girl (played by very talented 14-year old Peyton Kirkner) who is legally blind, though she can see a bit through one eye at an extremely close range. She happens to meet an elderly man, Calhoon (Lloyd Pedersen) who has a bit of trouble walking, and when he falls in her front yard, she befriends him. Patty’s mother, Mrs. Lola Henderson (Maria Kress) finds him visiting with Patty when she arrives home.
Patty and Calhoon are both lonely people, and though he is 78 years old, they discover camaraderie with one another. Patty and Calhoon form a very close friendship. Her mother finds him visiting Patty each day that she arrives home and this causes her a great deal of concern. Due to her apprehension, Lola can be too overbearing with Patty that often creates tension between mother and daughter.
Eventually Lola makes arrangements to transfer Patty to a public school after discussing it with Miss Hester (Clara Rodriguez), dean of the school. When Miss Hester meets Patty, she is impressed with her and agrees to allow her to attend the 9th grade class where she acclimates to fully.
The time has passed and grown-up Patty, using the name Trish (Kait Haire), is beginning a new position as a public school teacher where she meets Hugo, (Bobby Slaski) an English teacher next door to her room. They develop a friendship that grows into a romantic affair and Lola voices her concern that, once again, creates tension between mother and daughter. But Trish, more independent now than in past years, no longer feels the hold that her mother once held over her. Happily, she and Hugo become man and wife.
Bruce Kimmel did a sterling job as director of this exceptional cast and the play, having been written years ago, shows no signs of being outdated in any way. There are human beings today that, undoubtedly, have characteristics that could match those we see in this production. It is normal, I presume, for a parent of a child with special needs to become overly stringent in their lives.
In My Mind’s Eye plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sunday’s at 2 PM through March 15, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Tickets are available online at www.theGrouPrep.com, or for reservations and information, call (818) 763-5990.