"Well" is an autobiographical play by Lisa Kron. “Well” has earned Kron critical acclaim for its run on Broadway and at A.C.T. in San Francisco.
In "Well" A young actress/playwright wants to say something profound about those who get sick and stay that way – her mother and those who get sick and get well – herself. This is in spite of her protests to her mother that the play is not about her mother or her. This is the play within the play "Well"
This is the first play in which Kron has had characters other than herself. In “Well,” this includes her mother and the actors in the play that her character "Lisa Kron" is trying to stage.
Much to the dismay of the actress/playwright character Lisa Kron, her mother refuses to cooperate almost from the beginning. Soon, mother is joined by the actors and the whole play that Kron is trying to stage starts going off the rails.
From the beginning, the Lisa Kron character is addressing the audience, which also happens to be the audience of “Well.” She is soon joined by the mother and the actors. This goes so far as characters in the aisles and arguing off stage.
This sounds like it could be very complicated and confusing. Mostly it is very funny. Along the way, we the audience learn some things about relationships and the human condition. We also learn some about the work going into creating a theatrical production.
Elizabeth Nunziato is great as Lisa Kron. She successfully takes the character through several stages, such as disbelief and total loss of hope as the play continues to fall apart.
Nuziato is a very popular B Street Company member whose last play at B Street was the very well-received “Becky’s New Car.” In the end, she deftly delivers the playwright’s messages.
Polly Adams is just a hoot as Ann Kron, the mother. Adams’ more than 30 years’ work in theater from Broadway to regional theater really shows.
She may be familiar, given the amount of television and film performance she has done. Her Ann Kron can be totally misunderstanding one moment to understanding only too well the next.
An interesting side to her character is the belief in making neighborhoods well through integration and neighborhood associations centered around fun events and not politics.
The rest of the characters are the actors in the play within the play. They primarily portray patients and medical staff at the allergy clinic Lisa Kron has been sent to (Her mother believes that almost all sicknesses are caused by allergies) and childhood neighbors and schoolmates.
Anthony D’Juan is an active writer, actor, stage director and teacher. He is writing his second novel. His stage writing includes “Safe at Home: The Jackie Robinson Story.”
Amy Kelly is an actress, comedian, voiceover artist and impersonator. “Well” is her debut show at B Street.
Jason Kuyendall is well-known in the Sacramento theater scene. He just completed the run of “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Sacramento Theatre Company just a week ago as the “country” Earnest.
Shanel Moore became a member of the B Street Theatre Acting Intern Company this season. She is an Ohio native graduating from the University of Cincinnati.
All do a good job of playing characters from young to old. Kelly is a a standout as the very unhinged patient of the allergy clinic.
B Street Associate Producer Jerry Montoya directs. Montoya has directed numerous productions at B Street. He has also created adaptations and original works for the B Street Family Series such as “The Conductor: Harriet Tubman and The Underground Railroad” and “The Secrete Garden.” He deftly handles this play where emotions and actions are all over the place, including at some points in the audience or offstage.
Catherine Frye’s set design, while serving the play well, is also aesthetically pleasing.
Ron Madonia’s lighting adds wonderfully to the effect.
Katharine Bayley’s costumes help a great deal to know who or what the actors are portraying at any point in the play. They often lend to the humor. The kids in the Fourth of July pageant are a good example.
Stage Manager Tony Poston keeps everything cued well. “Well” requires some complex timing for its humor and surprises. Poston has a good background to be a stage manager, having started as a directing intern at B Street, spending time as an actor and working at the North Shore Music Theatre America’s other major musical theater in the round besides the Music Circus.
From the B Street Theatre website statement on the B3 series: “For adult audiences desiring fresh, intimate theatre—the B3 Series offers complex characters and intellectually moving plotlines.”
“Well” most certainly delivers on this promise. “that are also funny and enjoyable to watch” could be added to their statement for this show.
Photo credit: Elisabeth Nunziato as Lisa Kron; Polly Adams as Ann Kron (Lisa's mother) Photo by B Street Staff