One of the really cool things that HotCity Theatre does every year is their Greenhouse New Play Festival. It not only gives a voice to new playwrights seeking to have their plays produced, but it also provides something fresh and entertaining for the theatre going public. The winner this time around is Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by EM Lewis, and it's a funny and touching slice of life that breezes along at a brisk 75 minutes. It's a splendid way to spend an evening, and a very entertaining play.
Lynn Hallaby feels stifled in her current life. The last time she felt this way she was much younger and attempted suicide, but this time she's decided on a different approach. With her duffel bag packed and a Greyhound bus ticket in her pocket, she's headed for Alaska and a stab at commercial fishing. She spends the night at her family's house, not so much to bid them a fond farewell, as to take advantage of the proximity to the bus station. But, her family is reluctant to let go, and so is her paramour Ray, who shows up to try and rekindle the flames of their love.
Nicole Angeli is excellent as Lynn, neatly sidestepping her family's attempts to dissuade her from her current course of action. Those include her brother, the closeted Kelly (Charlie Barron), who feels a real bond to his big sister and doesn't want to let go. He's aided in his efforts by his lover, Gary (Rusty Gunther), who tries some amateur psychology on her at Kelly's urging. Her mother Margie (Peggy Billo) even goes so far as to hide her bag (and even stabs it at one point) in order to keep her from leaving the nest. Her father, Hudson (Joe Hanrahan) even dons some fishing gear in an effort to guide her in a different direction. Her boyfriend, Ray (Eric Dean White), reminds her of happier times they've spent together, and vows to be more receptive to her moods, but all to no avail.
Director Bill Whitaker does nice work here bringing this new play to life and gently guiding this exceptional cast. The laughs and the tears are honest, and not contrived in the least. Sean Savoie's scenic design conjures up a working kitchen and bathroom for the action to play out in, and Michael Sullivan keeps the pertinent action clearly in focus. Jane Sullivan contributes the suitable attire, and propmeister Meg Brinkley, the necessary appointments.
HotCity Theatre's production of Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is entertaining and moving theatre, and it continues through September 22, 2012 at the Kranzberg.