Archikulture Digest

Bad Dog

Bad Dog

By Jennifer Hoppe-House

Directed by Mark Routhier

Starring Ginger Lee Mc Dermott, Jennifer Bonner, and Susan O’Donnell

Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando FL</strong>

It’s only funny if you haven’t lived this story yourself. Molly (McDermott) is a triple threat: drunk, junkie, and speed freak. If it buries the pain, deal her in. True, she straightened up for a decade and married uber-tolerant Abby (Bonner) but last night something snapped: she drove her car though the side of their house after nearly running down a guy with a dog in a park. Why here? Why now? Why at all? There are reasons; they are nominally small but still big enough to push the triggers the fire up the emotional maelstrom. Sister Linda (O’Donnell) arrives first; she can hold her pills and liquor but not a stable relation. Becky (Ann Hering) is hot on her heels; she’s counting on daddy to make a down payment on a house assuming Molly doesn’t clean him out first. Lois (Elizabeth T. Murff) is mother to this nest of idiosyncratics; she’s still angered about the divorce 30 years ago but sucks it up when “that man” Walter (William Metzo) arrives with his less-than-trophy-quality wife Sondra (Gladys Rodriquez). Walter is self-absorbed; Sondra fears Spanish people, and its time for everyone to rip poor Molly to shreds. Hope she can make it back from the ER in time to catch the second act.

The pain is real here; Molly’s descent is inexplicable as others around her handle their vices and intoxicants with style and no arrests. Perhaps she needs the excitement of crisis, perhaps it’s a slow suicide or perhaps she just flagellates herself for missing her own self-expectations. The onion is peeled slowly and tearfully; and while everyone wants to help, none know how. Walter offers money but no emotional support, Sondra offers different drugs but no roach clip, with Linda its love that doesn’t heal; with Lois its discipline that hurts yet does not correct.

The theme has been explored on so many stages it’s hard to find much new but Hoppe-House digs in the corners adding what new perspectives the 21st century might offer: Hybrid cars, postmodern therapy methods, lesbian relations. None will help poor Molly, and like a delicate old house from another century endless effort and expense must be invested to even keep the facade from crumbling. Is it worth it? You can always find another old house, but ruined siblings are different: you’re obligated to burn everything you have and follow them to hell. That’s the conundrum on this stage: We, too, love Molly. But we are so done with her BS.

For more information on Orlando Shakespeare Theater, visit

http://www.orlandoshakes.org</em>


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