Thursday, June 6, 2013
At Fringe, I was handed a "House of Yes" button on the green lawn at Lock Haven Park. It was red white and blue so I assumed the show might be a political comedy. The Penguin Point Productions play and its polished production values took me by surprise. It was about a brother, Marty (Justin M.G. Hughes), who returned home with his naive fiance, Lesly (Monica Joyce), from the city. I quickly became obvious that his twin sister, Jacqueline (Adele Papoosha), had suffered a nervous breakdown. She was ecstatic about his return. She fancied herself to be like Jackie Onassis. It became clear that Marty and his Mom (Marcie Schwalm), didn't get along. Mrs. Pascal's sarcasm,wit and cold high brow detachment added much needed humor to every scene. The whole family put on airs. I knew nothing about the play or the later film staring Parker Posey. I grew more uncomfortable as the play progressed.
When Jackie-O finds out her brother is engaged her mood sours and it is clear to all that she is off her medications. Late that night she convinces her brother to play a childhood game. They reenact the Kennedy Assassination and she nurses him and her gentle kisses turn to passionate love. Lesly discovers them and slips away disgusted by the incest. Meanwhile the younger brother, Anthony (Max Herskovitz), became obsessed with Lesly and he seduces her with a story of a brain tumor and his virginity. The mom discovers these two and in a comic moment just shakes her head and walks off stage as if nothing would surprise her.
The next morning Mom tries to convince Leslie to leave, blackmailing her with what she had seen the night before. Leslie has much more backbone than anyone in the family gave her credit for and she refuses to leave without Marty. She wants to save him from this strange incestuous family. To keep him home, Jackie-O flushes Marty's car keys. She convinces Marty to play the KFK Assassination game one last time saying he could leave afterwords. Crying she pulls the trigger. This time the gun was real. Jacky-O held the president's blood stained head in her lap. I left feeling unnerved and shocked.