Meridel LeSueur’s socialist-tinged tales of life in depression-era Minneapolis are the meat and bones of Hard Times Come Again No More
, an effort by contemporary playwright Martha Boesing to draw attention to LeSueur’s fiction. Co-directed by Lorraine Bahr and Jim Davis for Sowelu Theater, Hard Times
is set largely in a boarding house owned by the maternal Mrs. Mason (Nancy Wilson), who is initially unconcerned with the truckers’ strike her itinerant tenant Karl (Evan Honer) is helping to organize. She just wants her rent money, which he doesn’t have. Suddenly, strangely and successfully, the cast bursts into “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” with all the gesturing of a musical. It’s the first of 10 such interludes, and each time the cast breaks into song in a down-to-earth, haphazard manner that’s believably realistic. As the play moves on and summer nears, tensions boil over. Karl’s pregnant wife (Stephanie Woods) loses her sunny mood, it’s tax season and, most importantly, the strike begins to have an effect and the position of the people sways. The batty old lady upstairs begs, “Touch us! We’re here!” If considering the vivid realism and relevance of these characters, she’s got a point: Hard Times
succeeds in making tangible humans out of its characters.
Performance Works NWPhone:
4625 SE 67th Ave.Website: http://www.sowelutheater.org/