Back in July I was fortunate enough to see the showcase presentation of State of Women, a fantastic play by Andy Lyberopoulos, and directed by Tatum Lee. Since then, there have been some changes made, and you can sense the shift. It has definitely gotten to be a stronger show with this iteration, and while the lovely Alyssa Owslany was the centerpiece of the show before (deservedly so) as ex-housewife turned Rosie the Riveter, the focus has now shifted, and it’s now it’s a trio of characters that compose the heart of the story.
Eve’s story is now shared more evenly with that of Danny Finckle, played by Mark Nuttall, the young photographer with big dreams, who once has a taste of success, wants more, even if it costs his soul, and hurts those around him. Finckle’s story and arc this time around work much better in the newly tightened script, not to mention the fleshing out of his relationship with Penny (Amanda Nuttall). His arc is fuller this time, and much more poignant.
But the character that benefitted the most from the re-worked script is Karen Scobie’s Pepper, and this is very much her show. I mentioned before that Pepper’s character is the heart of the show, and that is even more so now, she is the beating heart, the thing that ties everyone, and every storyline in the show together, and Scobie is up for the challenge. Watching her emote on stage as Pepper goes through her life you’d be hard pressed to find a dry eye. She turns in a masterful performance heightened by her interactions with Owslany and brought to dramatic conclusion by the efforts of Finckle and her would-be beau Oscar (Trevor Ketcheson).
This is very much Scobie’s chance to shine, and she does!
I was wonderfully enchanted with the original presentation, but love the way this new presentation is done, it’s sleeker, more involved, and more focused on the central characters. The storytelling is tighter, the moments more poignant, the scenes atop the factory are still the best in the show, each one of them iconic and memorable in their own way.
Technically the show is amazing, the set design, and the way they use the space is wonderful, and their choices for songs for source music are top-drawer. Everything feels period, the costumes feel dead on, and Olivia Clarke, who turns in a truly enjoyable and fun performance, has a dress is something to behold!
I raved about the show in my previous review, and all the things I said there, hold true here. I will say this time around, I was moved even more by the story than the first time around, even when I knew what was going to happen and how things would play out. Lee and Lyberopoulos have crafted something amazing here, something important that speaks to us now from across the decades it’s meant to represent, resonating with just as much importance now, as it would for the characters then.
The show runs at the Al Green Theatre until the 15th, and if time and opportunity are afforded you, I cannot recommend seeing this one enough. You can buy your tickets here! See it, share it! Tweet at @tandument to let them know what you thought. Get out and see it, you won’t regret it!