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Theater | Theater Review

Small-Town America's Dream Days

November 02, 2000|JANA J. MONJI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

You won't find anyone named Molly in Craig Wright's dreamy comedy, "Molly'sDelicious," at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center. The title refers to an apple and the tender offerings of love.

Set in the autumn of 1965, Wright's piece has the gentle sweetness of a Delicious apple, tempering his crisp observations about small-town people. Director Dan Fields conjures a tempting vision of America. Touching the characters with a dollop of daftness, he makes their naivete about the coming disillusionment of Vietnam touching instead of ironic, in this first production of the new in-house company, The Group at Strasberg.

A brash young Coast Guardsman, Jerry (Jeremy Kent Jackson), faces service in Vietnam but predicts that American forces will be out in six months, after which he'll serve the remainder of his three-year stint in some nice American town like San Francisco. Jerry has come to Minnesota to marry his pregnant girlfriend, Alison (Christy Keefe), only to find her being courted by the mortician's son, Alec (Scott Venters).

Alison's aunt, Cindy (Maryedith Burrell), meddles, and Cindy's husband, Lindy (John Apicella), philosophizes. Both worry about what to do with bushels of apples from the newly planted orchard.

Set designer Craig Siebels creates a hazy confection--a white house with a porch and nearby apple trees, with more trees suggested in the distance through impressionistic representations and Chris Wojcieszyn's subtle lighting.

Wright's script emphasizes the whimsical. The humor and conflict rise from the well-intentioned actions of all the characters. Yet in Wright's world, living on good intentions isn't without heartache.

BE THERE

"Molly's Delicious," Lee Strasberg Creative Center, Marilyn Monroe Theatre, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Thursdays through Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. except this Sunday 2 p.m. only. Dark Nov. 23. Ends Dec. 3. $20-$24. (323) 650-7777. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

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