A TASTE OF AMERICAN PIE
THE TROJAN PIE AT LILLIAN THEATER
****EXTENDING performances through Saturday, March 31, 2007
The Trojans had their sacred horse as a ruse to kill off the Greeks and the residents of Troy. USA has Bernie’s infamous lethal pie to kill off a world buried in lewdness. One bite is all it takes, because, seriously, there won’t be anyone around to offer you a napkin. The Daughters of Decency are on a mission to protect citizens from the enemies of Faith, Prosperity, and Freedom. This includes banning indecent books such as Romeo and Juliet (yeah right) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (whatever). They serve as the entertainment for a political rally in honor of Senator Moorehead who will be served a piece of wholesome Americana—the apple pie—to demonstrate their patriotism.
In this estrogen-fused crew are sisters Leda DeWitt Busby (Diane Frank) and Daphne DeWitt (Lynne Marta). They prepare for the final meeting held in their home, but are temporarily distracted by Leda’s morose daughter Bernadine (Meeghan Holaway). Apparently, Bernie mixed a deadly concoction using her grandmother’s bone china teacups. Leda is fed up with her strange daughter who’s a combination of Wednesday Addams and the gothic teenager Wynona Ryder played in Beetlejuice.
Bernie towers over her aunt and mother, dressed tastefully in black and white, hiding behind her long dark hair and glasses. Daphne’s giving spirit doesn’t ignore her niece’s eccentric nature, but gives her the benefit of the doubt. As the women make last minute touches, high society matron Marsha Lomax (Rendé Rae Norman) and her pious friend Fay MacAdoo (Stephanie McVay) settle in. They go over the plan in greeting their Senator, while Bernie brings out the pie.
After hearing the Daughters going on about saving their community from outside negative influences, Bernie goes into a tirade on how the world’s hypocrisy exacerbates her wishes that it would all just go away. Her solution is a homemade bomb she baked in the pie. She walks out and leaves the frantic Daughters to figure out what to do. So, right about now, the Daughters of Decency are void of their faith and freedom, with no prosperity to help them out. Apparently, Bernie has a history of expressing her dismay. Leda confesses to the women that her daughter has been in and out of mental hospitals and has had enough “shock treatments and thorazine to cripple a moose.”
In the middle of the mayhem, actress Mary Gillis’ portrayal of Iris Stubbs—a woman who drinks before noon—represents that which the Daughters fight against. She is pretty much a thorn in the women’s side and in her own way is the voice of the people who the Daughters wish to save. Though he doesn’t say much, Marty Rosen acts as a Greek chorus spitting out famous quotes. Also Leda’s and Daphne’s father, he floats in and out of consciousness, he suffered a series of strokes, and injects perceptive adages when something ridiculous is said. Rae Norman plays it bigger than life as the demanding Marsha Lomax. The woman is 90% merciless Alexis Carrington merciless and 10 percent a compassionate Krystal Carrington toward the end.
I felt somewhat lost in The Trojan Pie in the beginning. There were moments where I thought I got “it,” then lost “it,” gained “it” back only to leave somewhat baffled.
Later, I had the opportunity to speak with playwright William Moreing to see if I missed something. He sprinkled remnants of mythology, the clash of socio-economical classes, and most importantly, the fact that the Daughters of Decency are so resistant to accept change, the changing world creeps upon them subtly. After our long and informative talk, I understood more than I thought.
The Lillian Theater is located at 1076 Lillian Way; for tickets call (323) 960-7784