These triangulations are the lifeblood of Picnic, which is most compelling in the scenes in which a number of these relationships are constellated at once, with the focus slipping quietly from one to the next. The most powerful example of this comes just before folks leave for the picnic and are hanging out in the yard, dancing. Lamb’s cast makes this extended scene poignant and gracefully revealing, from Hal’s insecure preening to Howard mild lechery toward Madge; from Rosemary’s frustration with Howard’s clownish moves to Millie’s plodding effort to learn a new dance from Hal — and her resigned dejection when Madge comes out and immediately performs the step effortlessly.

The subsequent close dancing of Madge and Hal, a charged moment in the play, increases everyone’s emotional volatility, and Doyle and Lorenz give their attraction a slow, rising warmth that holds both lust and innocence. It’s both a personal awakening and a symbol of an inevitable, timeless coming of age of an entire community. 

Picnic | by William Inge | Directed by Ellen Claire Lamb and Tony Sousa | Presented by Gaslight Theater, at the Hallowell Town Hall | through August 31 | 207.626.3698

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Home unsweet home, Review: Watch Born Yesterday, don't act that way, Review: The Huntington's Bus Stop, More more >
  Topics: Theater , William Inge, Gaslight Theater
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM  |  April 17, 2014
    Snowlion gets dark with a musical tragedy
  •   THE HYDROPHILIC LIFE  |  April 11, 2014
    The very winning world premiere of Underwaterguy , which Underwood both wrote and performs, runs now at Good Theater, under the direction of Cheryl King.
  •   THE PASSIONS OF PRIVATE LIVES  |  April 03, 2014
    Battle of the exes at Portland Players
  •   LEARNING TO HEAR, AND LISTEN  |  April 03, 2014
    The vicissitudes of identity and community are difficult negotiations in Nina Raine’s drama Tribes , dynamically directed by Christopher Grabowski for Portland Stage Company.
  •   THE DEAD DON'T LEAVE  |  March 28, 2014
    The complexity of familial love, regret, and shame, as seen between Charlie, who long ago moved to London, and his simple, sometimes confounding, working-class gardener father (Tony Reilly), are the crucible of Hugh Leonard’s Da .

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING