Sunday, March 03, 2002

Night Bloomers (Cleveland Play House)

Next Stage Festival at CPH previews 'NIGHT BLOOMERS'

Sarah Morton is one of Cleveland’s better playwrights. Her play SAFETY was nominated for the American Theatre Critic Association’s “New Play Award” and the Osborn Award For Up And Coming Playwrights. Her newest work-in-progress NIGHT BLOOMERS, had its first-ever public reading as part of the NEXT STAGE FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS--2002 at the Cleveland Play House. Originally planned as a longer play Morton, according to cast member Dorothy Silver, discarded her original concept following the 9-11 tragedy and sculpted a one-act play in its place.

NIGHT BLOOMERS centers on a grandmother, her twenty-something grandson and a young female playwright. The setting is December, 2001 in the backyard of the grandmother’s house somewhere in the Southwest. Lilia, the grandmother, has received an exotic plant as a present from her daughter whose son Nathan is visiting his grandmother. In reality, Nathan, on the run from reality. A run which always leads him to his grandmother. Neli, the playwright-wanna-be is also in a search...a search for the center of her play, and probably her life. Grandma, though wise, also escaped in her early life to Italy, met and married her husband and has been adrift since. The Night Bloomer plant’s existence centers on building up its energy so it can shoot forth an occasional beautiful bloom. In the play it acts as a metaphor for each of the characters.

Though not a completed work it is an interesting one-act play that evokes questions of the purpose of life and what each person’s role is in his/her existence. One of the major questions that the author will have to address is whether she leaves the work as a one-act play or expands it into a full work.

Capsule judgement: Though just a reading, CPH’s cast was effective. Headed by the wonderful Dorothy Silver, who can make a pause and a sideways glance yell meaning, she was ably supported by Jason Markouc and Erin Hurley.