As part of Women’s History Month, the Detour Theatre Company is presenting Susan Glaspell’s "Trifles" and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s "Aria da Capo" on a twin bill in the Rose Firebay of the John Waldron Arts Center in a production directed by Stephanie Harrison.
Glaspell and Millay were both members of the Province Town Players, the same group that included Eugene O’Neil. They were also both women, but there the similarity ceases. "Trifles" by Glaspell is a grittily realistic, murder mystery. Millay’s "Aria da Capo" is a sort of expressionistic piece with a madly stylized comic tea party on both sides of a simple but deadly fable.
Susan Glaspell’s "Trifles" is based on a series of newspaper stories that she wrote about an rural Iowa farmwife who strangled her husband. Steve Heise was especially strong as Mr. Hale, the neighbor who discovers the crime. Kaira Hogle played his wife, Mrs. Hale. The Sheriff’s wife, Mrs. Peters, was played by Amanda Scherle. While the Sheriff and an Attorney and Mr. Hale were all looking over the scene, it was the ladies of "Trifles" who pieced out the motive for the murder and then out of sympathy hid the evidence. In those final scenes the tension seemed to evaporate instead of grow
on Sunday afternoon, but "Trifles" is a cleverly organized play and it had its moments..
"Aria da Capo" fared less well. The center piece of "Aria da Capo" is a fable of a couple of shepherds who erect an imaginary fence and die when the fence becomes too real. Andi Dema and Nile Arena as the shepherds were supposed to be appropriately minimal. They spoke in a clear, nearly mechanical stentorian fashion, but the overall effect was flat and undramatic. Mark McIntyre and Amanda Renee Baker made a stylishly whimsical pair as Pierrot and Columbine, the opening and closing bookends of the play. But even the pleasure in their cockeyed antics wore thin quickly.
The Detour Theatre Company’s productions of "Trifles" and "Aria da Capo" play Thursday, Friday and Saturday at eight and Sunday at two in the Rose Firebay of the John Waldron Arts Center.