“What Rhymes with America” follows Hank, a deadbeat father, as he tries to connect with his daughter, Marlene, who’s conflicted as to whether she should let him in. Throw in a quirky co-worker and an enticing stranger and you’ve got yourself a production.
Beyond these character relations, the play lacks plot and leaves the audience wondering what they’re looking forward to. The beginning of the play shows Hank standing on the outside of his ex-wife’s house trying to form a relationship with his daughter, and the ending of the play is the same scene. There’s little to be shown for the two 45-minute acts, and it is disappointing.
Director Doug Mishler explains, “Since the playwright offered little direction and almost no punctuation, the task was daunting.” I commend Restless Artists’ Theatre for taking on a challenging production, but I’m not sure they hit it on the mark.
Nonetheless, the interpretation of the characters was unique and added a layer of intrigue. Each character was individualistic and had a sense of personal touch.
My favorite aspect of the performance was when Sara Mackie, playing Sheryl, gave an impromptu monologue as Lady Macbeth. The character of Sheryl kept jumping in-and-out of the monologue, showcasing Mackie’s acting abilities.
While I wouldn’t call “What Rhymes with America” a failed production, I also wouldn’t call it a must-see. There’s heart and some comedic moments, but also out-of-tune guitar playing and little plot development. This play could strike a chord in some audience members, but for me it was an unfortunate miss.
Written by Melissa James Gibson
Directed by Doug Mishler
Evening Show Dates: 1/10, 1/11, 1/16, 1/17, 1/18, 1/23, 1/24, 1/25 @ 7:30 PM
Matinee Show Dates: 1/12, 1/19, 1/26 @ 2:00 PM
- $15 in advance online at www.brownpapertickets.com
- $20 at the door
- Senior, student, and military discounts available
- Sara Mackie as Sheryl
- Jake Steinman as Hank
- MaKayla Wilson as Marlene
- Jamie Albright as Lydia