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STAGE BEAT

'Skirmishes'

September 05, 1986|DON SHIRLEY

The two sisters who squabble at the bedside of their dying mother in Catherine Hayes' "Skirmishes" take note of the differences in their looks. Those differences are hard to discern in Melissa Anderson and Ellen Sweeney, the stars of Phil Scarpaci's staging.

They're both crowned with teased blonde hair. Their complexions are similar and well tended. This look is especially wrong for Anderson, playing the lonely drudge who has become embittered while caring for an ungrateful parent. Anderson's voice sounds properly shopworn, yet her youth and appearance undermine the rest of her characterization.

The look fits Sweeney better; her character would be likelier to put on a false front for public consumption. Yet Sweeney overdoes the sniveling, almost to the point of mugging, making an already predictable play even more so. Only Lorraine Michaels, as the half-conscious mom, is right for the role.

Gary Wissman's set is properly solid and pallid, and sound designer Robbie Weaver programmed the sickroom radio with a song called "You Take My Breath Away."

This Studio One production is at Room for Theatre, 12745 Ventura Blvd., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., through Sept. 20, (213) 465-0070.

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