Collaborative Artists Ensemble Presents “Anatomy of a Hug” at The Sherry Theatre
Written by Kat Ramsburg. Directed by Steve Jarrard.
Running November 9 through December 2, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm.
The Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, 91601
This is a play about trust. Trust in ourselves, trust in strangers, trust in the inevitability of change and in those who call themselves “family.”
Kathy Bell Denton (l.) and Meg Wallace.
We all have trust issues and we all know how they can take their toll on our relationships and on our connection to everything in the world. If we have no trust then we live in grayness and aloneness and will remain cut off from any real possibilities in life.
Amelia, the central character, has trust issues, and this is hardly surprising when you consider that she has lived in care for most of her life. Her mother, Sonia, went to prison for killing her father in a manic depressive attempt to kill all three of them. Sonia changed her mind at the last minute, couldn’t stop her accelerating the car from crashing and then unintentionally crashed the car in such a way as to only kill her husband, sparing herself and a very young Amelia. Amelia adored her father and chose to cut herself out of her mother’s life completely, that is until her mother was awarded compassionate leave from prison because of a terminal illness and could only be released to a family member and the only family she had was Amelia.
Meg Wallace and Jo Sung.
So this is where we meet them both, as well as Sonia’s caseworker Iris and a very sweet and well-intentioned co-worker of Amelia’s, Ben who has a severe crush on Amelia…much to her astonishment.
Amelia has buried herself in her work selling child-aid memberships over the phone and in her rapturous love of television. The make-believe worlds of TV gave her families and friendships she never could have had in the real world…and the distance they provided from reality kept her safe and free of the heartbreak of people.
Amelia and Sonia are as far apart as two people could be living in one small apartment and, while Sonia tries her best to connect and to heal them, Amelia resists. This is a sad and moving play, although there are many, many funny moments and it is beautifully and a poignantly acted, each actor giving thoughtful, nuanced and deeply heart wrenching performances. How difficult it is for us to talk to each other though? Why does it often take something as drastic as impending death to get us to really see each other, to truly connect, to find our humanity and to forgive?
Leslie Thurston (l.), Kathy Bell Denton, Meg Wallace
“The Anatomy of a Hug” goes some way to answer these universal questions perhaps, but mostly it is an intricately wrought portrait of a lonely woman so destroyed by one terrible moment in her life and its heartbreaking consequences that she insulates herself from everything that could indeed make her whole. It is quietly brilliant and powerfully true. Bravo!
Kathy Bell Denton, Jo Sung, Leslie Thurston and Meg Wallace.