The show a coming of age tale. Several characters state to the audience that the play is "about me" -- which it always IS, as each of us is stuck with our own perspective. Fourteen-year-old Charlie (Mark Schenfisch) is a charming, believable adolescent who rebels by taking a job with the scandalous "Pig Woman" Anna, wonderfully played by Lela Ivey, appropriately over the top, as she represents the forbidden bohemian lifestyle with passionate enthusiasm.
Anna's philosophies clash with Charlie's conservative mother, Grace -- and at the same time uncover Grace's wilder past and troubled present. Mandy Myers as the mother has the most challenging role, with a lot of conflict under her proper exterior -- and may have been better served by an older actress. The "youth cast" of Charlie's sister, friend and maybe-girlfriend (Jenna Jo Pawicki, Corey Weatherup and Anna Morreale) were all very good.
Director Lynn Lammers has orchestrated this memory play on an interesting set (Hernando Claros) that conveys the period (1945) but requires us to add our imaginations, as it becomes many locations without any scene changes, so the flow of nostalgia and growing up is not interrupted.
What I Did Last Summer continues through June 14 at 8 pm just south of the Auditorium Building on the corner of Farm Lane and Auditorium Road. Park on Auditorium Road. Bring bug spray and chairs, or sit on the bleachers. FREE
Don't miss the rest of Summer Circle -- including the early kids show and the late show The Weird:
The season opens with A. R. Gurney’s gentle comedy What I Did Last Summer which takes place on the shores of Lake Erie in 1945. This coming of age tale explores the relationship between fourteen-year-old Charlie and his Bohemian teacher, Anna who tries to open his mind by teaching him about art and the world. (Runs 6/11-6/14 @ 8 PM. Appropriate for ages eight and older)
The second mainstage production is one of today’s most celebrated and controversial plays, Detroit by Lisa d’Amour. Ben and Mary see sudden signs of life in the deserted house next door. When they meet the new neighbors they become caught in an urban nightmare adventure that will change their lives. (Runs 6/18-21 @ 8 PM appropriate for mature audiences only.)
The season ends with the hilarious musical Ruthless by Marvin Laird and Joel Paley. This campy musical spoofs “The Bad Seed”, “All About Eve”, “Gypsy”, “Valley of the Dolls” and more as it tells the story of possibly homicidal eight year old Tina Denmark and her desperation to play Pippi Longstocking in the school musical. (Runs 6/25-28 @ 8 PM appropriate for all ages.)
The late night offering is The Weird by one of today’s hottest playwrights Roberto Aguirre Sacasa. It is a collection of short one-acts devoted to horror and suspense with visits from swamp creatures, vampires and Rosemary’s baby. Spooky fun. (Performs 6/13, 6/14, 6/20, 6/21, 6/27, 6/28 @ 10:00 PM approximately and is appropriate for ages 14 and older)
The children’s show is a new play by Rob Roznowski called The Summer Circle about friendship and theatre. A group of children meet one summer and learn about themselves through starting their own theatre… The Summer Circle Theatre. (Performs 6/13, 6/14, 6/20, 6/21, 6/27, 6/28 @ 6:30 PM and is appropriate for all ages.)