Cruise controlDmitry Samarovon May 25, 2022 at 4:57 pm

Margaret Knapp directs the world premiere of Martha Hansen’s first play (presented by Light and Sound Productions) about five women on an Alaskan cruise—each hoping to sight something other than a bunch of glaciers. Bailey (Hansen) is a chattering busybody looking for a first love late in life, Cora (Judi Schindler) is sliding into dementia and using the cruise as a last hurrah, Teresa (Millie Hurley) is freshly divorced and accompanying her cancer-survivor bestie, Audrey (Adrianne Cury), while cruise director Gloria (Stacie Doublin), there to make sure the ladies have a good time, winds up meeting some needs of her own.

Seven Days at Sea
Through 6/5: Thu-Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM; Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, lightandsoundproductions.org, $40 ($30 seniors/$20 students).

These women are good company and the issues they grapple with ring true, but the structure of the play does them no favors. Comprised of what seem like dozens of five-minute-or-less scenes, it’s as if Hansen is afraid her audience will get bored if she lingers or leans in too much. The stage set (designed by Michelle Lilly) is dominated by three beds, the middle of which is stowed away under the ship deck, then brought back out about ten times. During several of these changes, the poor stagehand tasked with handling the bed struggled to jam it behind the decorative panel. I mention this not to point out a bit of opening-night jitters, or a rough spot to iron out, but as an emblem of a piece of drama that’s trying too hard. As she writes in the program, Hansen wants to give voice to older women, who are often not much heard from. She succeeds in that. Let’s hope next time she also lets them breathe a bit.

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