Searches for Love in all the Wrong Places
TR Robertson–The third play of Scripps Ranch Theatre’s 41st Season is a most unusual romantic comedy written by playwright, screenwriter and director John Patrick Shanley. It is unusual in the sense that there is a lot of yelling, a lot of gesturing, a lot of trickery, a lot of unhappiness then a lot of happiness and a little romance as four Italian American’s, living in the Bronx, become wrapped up in a plot which will involve one of the men, with the help of his best friend, try to win back his ex-wife. Oh yes, there is plenty of comedy, supplied primarily by the antics of Aldo Scalicki, played by John DeCarlo, as the over the top Aldo. Love hurts at times and as you follow the antics of Aldo and Huey, along with Teresa and Janice, that hurt is both physical and emotional for some.
This quirky play’s plot begins with Aldo greeting the audience and telling us he is going to tell us a story about his friend, Huey. Aldo also goes on a rant about women and what they have done to him or all men. He presents the stereo-typical theatrical New York Italian American used in many plays. The story begins with Aldo telling us his best friend, Huey Maximilian Bonfigliano, has been lamenting his divorce some 3 years now, from his former wife Janice. We also find out that Janice shot and killed his dog as well as taking a shot at Huey. Huey feels he is in pain and broken and thinks that Janice has taken his power of being a man. He feels the only way to win back his power is to convince Janice to take him back, a reconciliation. Huey has also been dating a Soup Kitchen owner, Teresa, and he says he needs to break up with her. He convinces Aldo to help him with this plan, although Aldo gives him every reason he can think of to not go along with the plot. Huey wants Aldo to approach Janice about why she should take him back. Huey leaves Teresa, along with getting a good, loud, emotional lecture from her. In one of the most unusual, funny, emotional scenes of the play, Aldo convinces Janice to step out on her balcony and hear what he has to say and why it is in her best interest to take Huey back, but before he does this he makes his own play for Janice, which will entice Janice into taking a shot at Aldo, gun shot that is. Huey arrives and will the boy get the girl, if he does will he want to keep her or will he try to reach out to Teresa instead and will he get his power back? You will have to take in the play to catch the ending.
Photos by Ken Jacques
The over-the-top Aldo Scalicki is played by John DeCarlo, a veteran of Scripps Ranch and other regional theatre performances. John makes Aldo personable, likable and laughable as the macho Bronx Italian American. Playing his best friend Huey is Marco Kengott, also returning to the SRT stage. Huey is emotional, conflicted, mired in sadness, but committed. Marco brings all of this out with his portrayal of Huey. Teresa is played by Gina Maria Cioffi, also a veteran of SRT. Teresa is probably the sanest of the four friends, but she can certainly show her temper when pushed by the emotional Huey. You feel for Teresa as she commits to Huey even with his emotional issues. Lynnia Shanley plays Janice and pulls off the somewhat psychotic ex-wife with ease. Lynnia and John have wonderful chemistry as they scream, discuss, and banter back and forth in one of the strangest balcony scenes you will ever see. A fifth member of the cast is Rhiannon McAfee who plays Teresa’s Aunt May. Aunt May wants to get involved and doesn’t want to get involved in Teresa’s emotional issues. She offers some fairly sane advise to Teresa when she tells her,” Ain’t no bargains in people, you get what you pay for”, as she tries to help her understand what Huey is going through.
“Italian America Reconciliation” is directed by Charles Peters. His production team includes Stage Manager Darcy Harman, Set Designer Charles Peters, Costume Designer Pamela Stompoly-Ericson, Lighting Designer Kevin Burroughs, Props Designer Alyssa Kane, and Sound Designer Steven Murdock.
The play premiered in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1988. Playwright Shanley won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play “Doubt: A Parable” and the play also won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2005. He won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his film “Moonstruck”.
At its essence, this is a play about love. As Huey says, “the greatest, and only, success is to be able to love”. Love comes in many shapes and sizes and certainly is extremely difficult for some and very easy for others. This zany play certainly points that out.
The 90 min play “Italian American Reconciliation” will be on stage at Scripps Ranch Theatre, Alliant University, until February 16th, Tickets can be purchased at 858-578-7728 or go to www.scrippsranchtheatre.org. Next up for SRT will be “Love Song” beginning on March 27th.