Crimes of the heart essay

As each disaster collides with the one in front of it and as the sisters cope in their own zany manner, their honesty, love and ability to survive gets them through, and we laugh sympathetically with them, never at them. Ultimately the play transcends its surface nuttiness, and becomes a comedy drama about letting go of childhood demons to face the future unencumbered. It is a lively blend of laughter and pathos.

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Unfortunately, under Jerry Friedman's crude, gimmicky direction, the Theater Three production underscores the flip, the trite and the cliches inherent in the script. The play, which is funny and moving if played truthfully, is here taken out of the realm of whimsy and forced into an almost slapstick mold. The play's genuine emotion is buried in a tidal wave of cute stage mannerisms, which quickly become excruciatingly tedious. The sisters lose their charm and their emotional appeal and become grotesque caricatures of dimwitted Southern belles.

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Lenny is turned from a shy, sweet-natured woman into a stupid, pouting cow. Babe, who has been brutalized by an uncaring husband and tormented by a mean-tempered sister-in-law and turned for comfort to the arms of a black teen-age farmhand, is portrayed as an unsympathetic, simpering wimp.

Meg exhibits little of the warmth and sensitivity underlying the harsh shell. They act like whining preadolescents, which is neither appealing nor to the point of the play. Their cousin Chick, who is, as Miss Henley wrote her, an unpleasant character, is here turned into a harridan who talks and moves like Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West.

All the actors adopt exaggerated mannerisms, swiveling their limbs and tugging on their clothes, and constantly flinging their arms around one another until they all look as though they were suffering from an infestation of fleas.

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The one thing they do get right is the accents. Perhaps they would have fared better if they had spent more time looking for the honest emotion in the script and less on practicing superficialities such as Southern accents. In past shows, each has proven her ability to successfully create a character.

A Critique of Crimes of the Heart, a Play by Beth Henley

That they are not acting here as much as expending enormous amounts of energy on the physical manifestations of their roles, such as pouting, giggling and hip-swiveling, is due to their direction. The two men in the play, Brent Erlanson, as Meg's former boyfriend, and Tony Butera, as Babe's lawyer, are also subject to directorial heavy-handedness, although Mr. Lenny has sent Meg a telegram, asking her to come home to help deal with the problem.

Once the sisters are together, they begin discussing the fact that their mother hung herself after being abandoned by their father. She hung a yellow cat at the same time, which brought national notoriety to the case.

Crimes of the heart

Through the dialogue and the erratic actions of the sisters, it is clear that, whatever wrong has been done to them, all three of them suffer from at least some degree of mental illness. It is soon revealed that the terrible piece of news is this: Babe shot her husband, Zackery, in the stomach.

Crimes of the Heart |

He will live, but unless something drastic changes, she will go to court and there is no reason to think she will not be found guilty. After Babe comes home, she admits to shooting Zackery, but initially refuses to divulge her reasons for doing so. Over the course of the three acts, each sister confronts her own demons and finds the possibility of change. Crimes of the Heart is an indictment of improper parenting, an illustration of the devastation of suicide, and a rallying cry in support of the mentally ill.

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