Archikulture Digest

Mr. Marmalade

Mr. Marmalade

By Noah Haidle

Directed by Rob Yoho

Starring Alex Richmond, Ryan Lambert and Brian Hatch

Rollins Players at the Fred Stone Theater

Winter Park, Fl</strong>

Women get slapped around by the most charming and violent boyfriends, but 4 year old Lucy (Richmond) has a jump on all of them. Her imaginary and rakish Mr. Marmalade (Lambert) visits infrequently, as he is occupied with his imaginary job or other imaginary woman. It falls to his Personal Assistant Bradley (Casey Ottinger) to deliver chocolates and schedule brunch with Lucy. Mr. Marmalade slaps him around as well, blaming it on all the pressure at work. When Lucy’s non-imaginary baby sitter (Amanda Leaky) brings her non-imaginary boyfriend over to screw, his non-imaginary step brother Larry (Hatch) elbows in on Mr. M. This drives Mr. Marmalade into drink and porn and blow, and after a while everyone threatens suicide. Where does Lucy get this rich and violent fantasy life? I’ll just mention this in passing – Oprah and Sally Jessie and Fox News are VERY BAD FOR YOUNG MINDS.

As Precocious Child dramas go, this one is Tennessee Williams hot. The diminutive Richmond really does look like a 4 year old playing against the six-foot-something Lambert, and Hatch’s Larry seems about to cry for most of the show. The violence on stage is hard and fast, and even if you know Lambert isn’t really kicking Sally in the kidneys, its more realistic than anything the WWF stages. Ottonger’s Bradley shows a curious sexual dimorphism – occasionally he seems effeminate, other times merely asexual. That’s probably the realistic blend for a child hood friend, and he’s willing to play tea party and Barbie even as he begs Lucy to keep the secret his boss is abusing him. Backing up the principle actors are Amanda Leaky as Lucy’s slutty mom and her sluttier mother, and Dustin Schwab as both of the whiny boyfriends. The pair come together to perform as a thirsty Cactus and hungry Sunflower. These are Larry’s invisible friends which is somehow even sadder.

While the Fred Stone’s echoey acoustics make the dialog a challenge, the other aspect of Rob Yoho’s staging work well – the walls are finger painted with what might be a chocolate sauce and banana sandwich, and crude obscenities emerge in the darkness form phosphorescent paint. Psychologically, it’s the Freudian childhood sublimated sexuality, and practically it gives you something to look at between scenes. One hysterically funny moment arrives when Mr. Marmalade brings out a leaf blower to clean the set of spilled Doritos while he gives an impassioned speech. Both Lucy and audience ask “Huh?” but he charges ahead – it’s not the words he’s saying, but that he’s even bothering to talk at this point. Sally’s journey has a provisionally happy ending – with play friend Larry and Bradley to keep her appointments, she can retreat from the destructive adult world for a few years. But if the past foretells the future, this young lady has some rough relations ahead of her.

For more information on Theatre at Rollins College, please visit http://www.rollins.edu/theatre/index.shtml


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