Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review of Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter at Next Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter by Julie Marie Myatt. The director was Jessica Thebus. It was about a woman who had just been to war named Jenny Sutter (Lily Mojekwu) who had kids and she wanted to get home to them but she didn't want to tell them that she had lost one of her legs. She wanted her children to be safe and not to be scared from her. And she is at this bus stop and she meets a woman named Lou (Jenny Avery) who invites her to stay over at her house for a while. It is about war and giving up things that you love but you need to give up.

The set by Rick and Jackie Penrod I thought was fantastic. The first scene has just a cloth with a cot on stage and that's where the play started--at the hospital at the war. And then to get to the bus stop they just pulled up the curtain and pulled the other stuff away. The bus stop looked just like a bus stop with all the posters of pop stars and for lotion and toothpaste. I also really liked when they were at the hippie camp which used to be a military base. I thought it was really interesting because the roof was made out of sheets and blankets. I thought that the set made it more obvious that they were all poor and they all had to live together in one place or they would not have been able to live at all. It seemed like a kind of campout--like you were going camping.

The first scene at the bus stop I thought was really funny. I thought it was a good way to start a scene that was right after a very sad scene (where we found out that Jenny Sutter had no leg and how she used to want to be a soldier but she didn't want to anymore). It was funny because Hugo (Justin James Farley) was coming in and stamping his foot like he was an insane dog with fleas. He wasn't a dog, and he didn't have fleas, but the bus station had cockroaches and he was walking and some of them got on him and that's why he was stamping his foot. When you first meet Lou she comes in and says, "Won't somebody clean those bathrooms." Hugo stays there and just keeps talking and she is looking at him like, "Go clean those bathrooms." Instead of seeming to care that she doesn't have a real home or that there is a war going on, all that she cares about for the next few minutes is to get those bathrooms clean. He does not get them clean. All he cares about at the moment is getting their destinations so he can write it down on his little chart. It tells us that all the characters feel like they need what they want right away, but they don't get it right away. And sometimes they feel like they don't need it right away but it would have been better to do it at that moment in the long run.

I thought that the speeches that Buddy (Lawrence Grimm) made were a combination of nice and weird, which I like in a speech--a nice weird touch. The ways that they were nice is that he was doing it for this church. And the weird things were the things that he'd talk about, like he talked about his personal things, like his girlfriend and how much he loved her. He kind of brought all of Lou's addictions back and that made her kind of a weird person--but still a nice person. But you can't really blame Buddy for that; he's a nice guy.

When Jenny Sutter came to Lou's house, Lou was trying to be kind and helping her, and Lou had gotten her psychiatrist Cheryl (Hanna Dworkin) to help Jenny forget about the explosion. Donald (Kurt Brocker) had just taken Jenny outside to his truck where she could have a beer. When she came back and Cheryl was trying to help her, she was drunk. I think Cheryl was trying to help her but she also kind of didn't want her to be in the house because she was kind of stressful for everyone there because she was always so unhappy. 

There was this scene that I thought was very interesting where Jenny Sutter is at her welcome home party and Donald pops a balloon and then Jenny Sutter goes into a half-flashback/half-reality where Lou walks in and there is this big explosion and she hurls herself over Lou and that is how she loses her leg. She really lost her leg because she forgot to check somebody for bombs and her leg got blown off by one of the bombs. I don't want to talk about what happened because it is too sad. It makes me feel still sad.

The last scene was at the bus stop again. It was this really touching scene with Lou and Jenny. It was touching because Jenny was crying because Lou had been so nice to her. I thought everything could turn out fine except that she wouldn't have as good a life as she could have had because she lost her leg, but at least she will be home with her children. I think everything is going to turn out fine for Lou unless the police find out that she's the person that's been stealing everything. I think she might go back to Buddy and they might live happily ever after--but it is not very likely. You don't get to see Jenny go home and reunite with her kids because it is kind of like one of those make-your-own-ending books where if you are in a sad mood and you want to be happy, you can choose the happy ending. And if you want to be scared you can choose the scary ending or the sad ending. You get to choose from the happy ending where she gets to go home and see her kids or the sad ending where she goes to a different place and runs away from her kids or the scary ending where the bus blows up.

People that would like this show are people that like scary explosions, nice Lous, and hippie camps. I didn't get to see this show until only a few days before closing, and I already had another play to review, but you might be able to see a different production of Jenny Sutter, or you might get to see a remount. You should definitely see a remount if possible because this is a great play.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

1 comment:

misslily said...

i adore you, ada grey! are you going to be a reviewer when you grow up? or maybe a playwright? or a director? or a mom? xoxo

p.s. i sent a link of your review to my sister and niece. they love to read your reviews, too.

p.p.s. i went back and read your review of "the giver". we got that book for my stepdaughter for christmas because we'd heard good things about it. i learned while reading your review that one of the kids is named lily! when i was growing up, i only knew one other lily - my mother, who i was named after. i liked that and it made me feel very special. now i hear the name lily all the time...grrr (that's me growling in annoyance that my name is popular now).

i hope i see you soon!