The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild | Ben Lomond, CA (Park Hall)

Say Hello to Mildred Wild!

At first glance, there is nothing special about “The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild”. It seems to be an ordinary story about a slightly loony girl living in her own bubble of movie fantasies in a dilapidated apartment above her husband’s candy store, which isn’t doing well either. However, what makes it special is the treatment of the delicate theme of “dark comedy”.

It’s a mad mad mad world…

Paul Zindel certainly deserves credit for this production, which had a brief run on Broadway back in 1972. Even though it has been restricted to performances in schools and community theaters, it has a strong presence with each character outlined vividly. The setting is in Greenwich Village, with interesting characters such as Mildred’s milk duds popping husband, her sister-in-law who is quick to criticize, the hard-nosed landlady, the butcher from next door, etc. Mildred’s only escape is into the virtual world, which she has created from her experience of watching 3000 movies.

Worthy performances

The transition between the two worlds is handled beautifully by director Frank Latson, so you don’t feel confused while watching the protagonist’s imaginary affairs with stars such as Rhett Butler or Fred Astaire. She also pictures herself as Vivien Leigh or Ginger Rodgers complete with similar makeup and hairdos. The music does a wonderful job by impart the right type of ambience and playing to her varied moods and kooky attitude. Marcia Carroll has given a great performance as the sharp-tongued and feisty Mildred, a dedicated fan of movies, who utilizes them to temporarily escape from her rocky marriage. At times, you might be surprised why this bubbly, free-spirited woman chose to marry Roy, played by Scott Latham, who is best described as being a non-entity with the ridiculous toupee to hide his baldness. Marisa Diotalevi is also good as the tough and bossy life coach, Helen, who is Roy’s sister.

As the plot progresses, it becomes clear that she will never let go of her fantasy world, because it is all she has. An eccentric mix like a bulldozer, a nun, King Kong, and an efficient, but overly curious TV camera crew, is also thrown in to serve their specific purpose. You will admire Mildred’s approach towards the different crises that she has to face, as the story moves towards an unpredictable climax.

The duration of the show is approximately 2 hours. CLICK HERE to Book your tickets at the Park Hall in Ben Lomond.

 

 

The Fantastiks | Snapple Theater (New York)

A “Fantasticks” Spectacle Indeed

When a show moves into the 20,000 performance range, there is no doubt regarding its popularity and acceptance. It truly becomes a legend, like The Fantasticks, which is the world’s longest running musical and even if you are not much of a theatre person, missing a live performance of this caliber is a crime!

 

The simplistic backdrops
The USP of the show is its “old wine in a new bottle” format of boy meets girl with a fresh style of storytelling. The Narrator and other cast speak to the audience directly throughout the duration of the play. The small, simple stage with a bench, a chair, a trunk and a sheet displaying logo of the show, makes up the entire setting. Pierce Cravens is amazing as the Mute and wall that fills up all visual voids. The music is great, especially the customary “Try to Remember” and “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” by Harvey Schmidt. The two-member orchestra with Robert Felstein at the piano and Maria Banks at the harp do a great job as well.

 

Captivating performances
The present cast comprises 8 members with MacIntyre Dixon, turning in a brilliant performance as The Old Actor with his charm and persona that combines traits of being world weary and flamboyant at the same time. The Man Who Dies, whose forte lies in faking deaths using create methods has excellent timing, which is augmented by his spontaneous personality – Michael Nostrand more than does justice to his role.

Talent galore
The crafty co-conspirators, the two fathers – Don Sharkey and Kevin R. Free, have powerful chemistry, which can be experienced first-hand on the stage. Their duets deserve a special mention as they are infused with modern musical comedy finesse and vaudevillian style. Michael Sharon as the Narrator bewitches with his dimple grin and cunning mannerisms. As for the protagonists, The Boy and The Girl played by Max Crumm and Samantha Bruce respectively set the stage on fire with their romance and witty comedy. Bruce’s sincerity shines through, as does her wonderful voice, while Crum has an off-handed, low-key delivery and a nice singing voice. Overall, you root for these characters, even though you are already aware of how their story concludes.

The musical does have its off moments when its mysticism becomes slightly self-aware, but this can be attributed to the show being conceptualized in the early 60s, when everything was drastically different. Nevertheless, you should definitely watch this iconic show at the Snapple Theatre in New York.