By Shirley Lorraine
Rubicon’s Fuddy Meers is a wild ride
Several things can be expected from a Rubicon Theater production. High quality acting & production, and an opportunity to stretch your brain. The current production of Fuddy Meers, directed by Jenny Sullivan, running for just one more weekend, provides these things and more.
The fast-paced ride through life’s funhouse offers a roller coaster of events and emotions. With so much going on, by the end of the first act it is easy to be confused. Never fear, however, act two brings clarity in surprising ways. The play is high-strung and decidedly politically incorrect.
The central character is Claire (Precious Chong), a woman who lives with a severe case of amnesia. Each day she must be reminded of who she is and all details of her life. Her upbeat husband Richard (Joseph Fuqua) provides her with information and a scrapbook to reference. One morning, as Richard goes to shower, a man wearing a ski mask pops out from under Claire’s bed. He limps, lisps, and declares himself to be Claire’s brother, Zach (Stephen Caffrey) there to save her. From what is the question.
She takes him at face value, and they drive to Claire’s mother’s home in the country. Mother Gertie (Deedee Rescher) has had a stroke and is unable to put words in the correct order to form sentences. Her life is a different kind of funhouse.
At the window appears a foul-mouthed puppet named Binky, and his controller, Millet (Louis Lotorto). Millet and Zach have spent “time” together and are up to no good. When Richard discovers Claire is missing, he and rebellious son Kenny (Seryozha La Porte) head to Mother Gertie’s house. Along the way, a traffic stop by Policewoman Heidi (Tracy A. Leigh) results in her abduction as the two men decide she needs to accompany them to Gertie’s.
And that’s just the first act! It was amusing to listen to myriad audience comments at intermission – coming up with possible reasons for the chaos and making sense of the action.
Act two reveals that nothing is what it appears to be. Every character has a secret. Claire slowly begins to remember things from her past and as facts are unraveled, flashes of clarity come forth. We realize that everyone is searching for ways to become better people. Aren’t we all?
Wednesday’s talk-back with the actors revealed additional character insights from both actors and audience. The theme of the play, that life is a distorted and chaotic funhouse, during which we continually discover that there is always more under the surface, is a universal and timely one. We never have all the information we need to make sense of some things. And that’s okay. We just adjust what we consider to be normal in order to comprehend.
The actors are all outstanding. Each has created a definitively unique character with layers and layers of nuance. Director Sullivan allowed the actors to interpret their own journeys. As a result, each performance is slightly different. This is a wild ride worth taking.
Fuddy Meers concludes this weekend.