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Crimes of the Heart

KATHRYN PEIFER
7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays; 7 pm Sundays, March 9, 16 and 23; 2 pm Sundays, March 16 and 30 and April 6 and 13., Sunday March 16 | $30-$32.
Lakewood Center for the Arts
368 S State St., Lake Oswego
 
What happens when three sisters with infamous pasts reunite in their small Mississippi hometown—all because the youngest sister has just shot her husband in the stomach? Well, surprisingly and unfortunately, nothing very debauched. Indeed, the raciest scene in Beth Henley’s 1980 Pulitzer-winning play, directed by Diane Englert at Lakewood, finds a nosy neighbor changing her pantyhose on stage. Even so, the three Magrath sisters could be called the sisterhood of the traveling madness—their bouts of depression take violent turns to hysteria and attempted suicide. One minute, Lenny, the eldest and most responsible sister, is tidying up the butter-yellow kitchen. The next, she’s blubbering about a shrunken ovary. Meanwhile, the youngest and flightiest sister, Babe, is practicing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on her new trumpet and, two minutes later, is in the kitchen, pulling a Sylvia Plath. As the three sisters, Shandi Muff, Tricia Castañeda-Gonzales and Eleanor Johnson believably portray their characters’ emotional instability while remaining likeable. All three are making their Lakewood debuts, which could explain why they failed to project opening night. (One elderly woman in the audience even expressed her dissatisfaction during the show. “They need to speak up,” she said. “I can’t hear a word they’re uttering.”) Nonetheless, the play is entertaining as it delivers wholesome lessons about family devotion in a conservative, Little House on the Prairie sort of way.

Where: Lakewood Center for the Arts
Phone: 635-3901
Address: 368 S State St., Lake Oswego
Website: https://www.lakewood-center.org

 
 
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