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Theater Reviews : A 'Light (but) Sensitive' Farewell : Way Off Broadway's closing production is a trifle of a romantic comedy with a sincere, fitting message about the power of love.

March 01, 1995|M.E. WARREN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SANTA ANA — Way Off Broadway is closing its eighth and final season with "Light Sensitive," a romantic comedy in which a blind man and a plain woman are brought together by the miracle of love.

Although Jim Geoghan's script is one of the tamer creatures in the menagerie of 50 productions that have inhabited Way Off Broadway's odd little stage, the miracle of love has had a great deal to do with this scrappy theater company's survival, and it seems a fitting theme for WOB's farewell production.

Artistic director Tony Reverditto says he is disbanding the company to move on to other projects, but his and his actors' love for the theater remains apparent.

"Light Sensitive" is a gentle, reassuring play, and, under Nancy Jane Smeets' evenhanded direction, the trio of performers serves it up with warmth and sincerity. The plot is predictable, but the actors play it like it's news. Their goodwill and playwright Geoghan's down-to-earth sense of humor prove a beguiling combination.

David Rousseve as Tom, the blind ex-cabbie, and Karen Mangano as Edna, the East Side, old-maid do-gooder assigned to help him, have been paired onstage before. Their scenes together have an ease and openness that make for some very nice, human moments. Steve McCammon neatly fills the role of Tom's drinking buddy, Lou, from ball cap to beer belly.

Everyone is very charming--more charming, perhaps, than they need to be.

*

Rousseve has an intriguing hint of mania in Act 1 that gets cleaned up beyond recognition in Act 2. He works a little too hard at being blind, feeling his way around his apartment with a tentativeness that belies the 30 years he has reportedly passed there. Mangano uses the old glasses-and-pulled-back-hair approach to plainness but is otherwise perfectly approachable.

There's so much optimism lighting up this sunshiny production that very few shadows are left unbleached, although Mangano gets some welcome darker colors into her second act monologue.

* "Light Sensitive," Way Off Broadway Theatre, 1058 E. 1st St., Santa Ana. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. Ends March 26. $15. (714) 547-8997. Running time: 2 hours.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

David Rousseve: Thomas Hanratty

Steve McCammon: Lou D'Marco

Karen Mangano: Edna Miles

A Way Off Broadway production. Written by Jim Geoghan. Directed by Nancy Jane Smeets. Produced by Tony Reverditto and David Walloch.

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