The title of CAN-ACT's current show may be A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking, but there's not much sitting. Throughout most of the first act, one of the "chicks," Maude, is throwing the other, Hannah Mae, out of her house. Understandably. Nothing but serial bluntness gets through to the loquacious Hannah Mae. So don't blame Maude (Jody Perry) if she seems severe. She faces an almost unstoppable force in the aggressively chatty but charming Texan chick, played by Rachel Edwards.
John Ford Noonan's script is an unusual one, built around a daily 11 a.m. coffee time visit from a new neighbor, who proves to be an unwelcome intrusion into the busy but lonely life of a well-to-do suburban matron. Noonan throws in some on and off-stage violence that is not only startling, but also rather unbelievable. But I suppose something dramatic has to happen to break through Maude's icy reserve and rejection of this new friendship.
The ultimate link that breaks down Maude's resistance is the situation with the men in two women's lives. Maude's husband is off on another fling. Hannah Mae's husband-well, his name isn't Bubba, but if the term fits, he can live with it. We never see him, but his presence is definitely felt. He doesn't scream "Stella" when he wants his woman to come home, but it's the same idea.
This show, the final production in the CAN-ACT 2004-2005 season, will only be presented for three more performances, and tickets are $5-a bargain at any community theater, especially with these two talented actresses. Edwards, who portrays the aggressively friendly Texas transplant to "sophisticated" Westchester County, New York, has been a frequent performer at Karcher Mall's upstairs theater. She recently appeared in the March show, They Came from Mars and Landed Outside the Farnsdale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen's Guild's Coffee Morning. Her interpretation of a church lady as a Martian commander was hilarious.
In A Coupla White Chicks, Edwards has a more challenging role as Hannah Mae. While she seems a bit of an airhead and non-stop talker, there is a substance and a loneliness to her character, which she must reveal while seeming to hide it.
Maude, the staid, organized suburban wife played by Perry, is a powerhouse actress, who has wowed audiences with her performances in Encore Theatre's Laugh-In, The Music Theatre of Idaho's Oliver, Into the Woods and many more area shows.
The sunny kitchen set is one of the stars of this show. Built by Webster, with beautiful detailing by Marilyn and MaLinda Gunderson, it is lit to perfection by Jonathan Perry.
This is a touching play about an unlikely friendship that adds a new dimension to the lives of two women with very different problems but similar pain. It makes you laugh, it makes you think, and maybe even shed a tear for lost romance and unfulfilled happiness.
A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking, written by John Ford Noonan, directed by Randall Webster, presented by CAN-ACT Theater, upstairs at Karcher Mall, Nampa. 7 p.m. June 23, 24 and 25, all tickets $5. For reservations call 442-0676.