A World premier, Asylum in Georgia, by Seattle playwright John C. Davenport produced by Red Rover Theatre Company, opened in Fremont on Thursday with more of a wimper than a bang. Taking place in a tiny town in the South, it was a combination of a comedy and mystery, as a woman retraces the steps of her youth to the place where her father died somewhat mysteriously and uncovers a few buried secrets about the town and its inhabitants.
Pauletta, played by Patty Bonnell, is a twice divorced TV journalist with an emotionally scarred childhood, who has just dropped her only child off at an Atlanta college. On her way home to Texas, she stops in the town where her father, a construction foreman, died in mysterious circumstances. While there, she runs into a host of characters and situations, which mostly seem foreign to her, but are recognizable Southern stereotypes as she tries to uncover the truth about her father’s demise.
The author knew how to create suspense and conflict to a certain extent and some of the dialogue was witty and funny, but the acting did not serve the script all that well, and the slow pace of the directing ( at least on opening night) did not leave me on the edge of my seat dying to know the resolution. When the secrets finally did come out it was anti-climactic.
In addition, the script was written almost as a screenplay, with too many short scenes, some indoors, some outdoors. Although the scene changes were swift and covered with music, in my opinion, it would have been better to condense the scenes to one set.
One of the most enjoyable and creative touches was the “phone digital assistant” from the cell phone, played by Kristin Alexander. Her whitened face appeared in a black box, on stage using a mechanical voice, mechanical smiles and facial gestures, along with a gigabite of sarcasm, she brought down the house every time she appeared to “talk” to the phone’s owner.
I found this play mildly entertaining, but it could do with another re-write.
Asylum in Georgia. Produced by Red Rover Theatre Company. At West of Lenin Theatre. 203 N. 36th St Seattle, WA 98103 Thur. Fri. Sat 7:30pm sun Feb 23 2:00 pm. Thru Feb 29. Tickets: https://www.redrovertheatre.com/Info: https://www.redrovertheatre.com/ ( Parking is difficult)