Play’s dark humor strikes a cord

Marc Lopez, Staff Writer

The play “Becky Shaw” held nothing back on opening night with its hilarious punchlines and harsh themes. Everything from the set design, to the music and cast made it enticing and enjoyable.

“Becky Shaw”, opened Oct. 18 at the California Theatre in Pittsburg and ran through the entire weekend ending with a matinee show Oct. 21. Directed by LMC Drama Professor Terrence Ivory, “Becky Shaw” had an audience of 190 for opening night. The play was written by award-winning playwright and accomplished television writer Gina Gionfriddo. The play ran for about two hours and 10 minutes with two intermissions.

“I don’t f**k family,” really gives a good understanding how gritty and dark the dialogue got. The comedy struggled on the first scene with it’s jokes but found its rhythm throughout the rest of the play. There were a few missed punchlines that were certainly meant to go over but didn’t. Ivory explained, the play is contemporary set around 2015 to 2017, so some of the jokes were going to be a bit outdated.

But despite a few missed jokes, the chemistry between Kahla Bulls, who played Suzanna and Gregory Kubik-Boyd, who played Max was very strong right off the bat. As other characters appeared on stage, it was easy to see there was a true bond among the cast members.

“We all love each other. We are all really close,” said Boyd. “We were underneath the stage in our green room before the show, going around in a circle giving praise to everyone.”

The story itself escalated as soon as Becky Shaw, played by Clare Barton, entered the lives of Max, Suzanna and her husband, Andrew, played by Austin Trenholm. From this point on, the play had the audience hooked and invested. So hooked, in fact, there was almost no need for a second intermission.

“It’s a part of the human condition,” said Ivory. “Once Becky came, everything changed.”

Ivory also explained some of the themes present in the play. There is a moment where it is revealed to the audience that Becky had racist thoughts. She even attempts to commit suicide in the play, but it was all a  plot to keep Max in her life. The play also tackles themes such as love, loneliness, family, blackmail and much more.

It seemed the story would be just about “Becky Shaw” and the people around her, but in reality, it felt more of Max and Suzanna’s story.

When the audience is first introduced to these two, we see the conflict of interests with the rest of the cast as the story progresses, ultimately leading to a rushed third act with a confusing ending.

When it came down to the set design, the scenery wasn’t breathtaking but subtly created a juxtaposition between the differences of Max and Andrew. Even the music helped foreshadow what was to come later.

Overall, “Becky Shaw” is a hilariously and dark play with very sensitive themes sold by the chemistry of every single cast member. Its jokes hit with audiences when it was dark but others simply flew over their heads. The design and music kept the flow of the play on course while giving subtleties of contrast between the characters. Becky Shaw may ruin lives in this play but she left her audience with laughter and joy.