EMH Production of Michelle Lowe’s “String of Pearls”: notes and comments

One thing I tend to ask myself when I’m watching a play is how will the work change my behavior.  After watching Scarlet O’Conner in last night’s performance of “String of Pearls” I don’t think I’ll be using the word “old” when referring to women.  O’Conner was by turns goofy, seductive, blunt, honest, vibrant, lackadaisical and coy.  But not “old.”

The story line rests on a string of pearls (or pearl necklace, depending on the reference) which not only has a double entendre but also clever relationship to the characters.  The pearls go from given to lost to found to stolen and back again to given, and reveal the best and worst of the people wearing them.

The cast — O’Conner,  Denise Mayberry, Gayle Tominaga, Yuri Tajiri, Bridgett Bess, Alexandra Barthel, Christine Lovette, Erian Dimond — portray 27 different characters ranging from poor, rich, young, not so young, very young, childish, mature, large, petite, extra large, flat chested and bosomy.  None of them seem typical compared to each other, and yet their struggles are very common. They deal with weakness, ambition, isolation, depression, lust, selfishness and selflessness, the circumstances ranging from mundane to dangerous.   And the beauty of the thing is that all of them acquire the most sublime kind of wisdom.  Which is to say optimism in the face of tough times — the idea that life is actually worth living.

I should also point out that hearing women talk so bluntly and honestly is refreshing.

Congratulations to the cast and crew on a great closing show.

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