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Arts Review Theater

Capital Stage Excels with World Premiere of ‘Alabaster’

alabaster
From left: Janet Motenko, Amy Kelly, Susan Maris and Stephanie Altholz co-star in "Alabaster" at Capital Stage.

It is a fact, whether freely admitted or not, that we are all broken. None of us are perfect. We are all damaged, whether by the actions of self, others or nature. In “Alabaster,” the National New Play Network rolling world premiere at Capital Stage, that damage takes the form of both physical scars and emotional wreckage.

Playwright Audrey Cefaly has created a dark, comic Southern drama with four characters – two human and two animals, played by a quartet of captivating female actors. Susan Maris plays Alice, a photographer who is documenting the strength and beauty of women who are physically disfigured by scars, while Stephanie Altholz plays June, one such woman, whose body bears the evidence of a North Alabama tornado that killed her parents and young sister as it barreled through their home.

June hasn’t left the farm in two years; her only companions are two goats, Bib (Janet Motenko), an ailing old goat, and Weezy (Amy Kelly), a wisecracking younger animal who speaks both goat and English. In this gothic comedy, that not only makes sense, but in the broader context, it illustrates a universal connection that exists between all living beings. We can learn from each other and grow with each other.

Kristin Clippard directs a cast that appears completely invested in their characters. Even Motenko, whose “dialogue” consists solely of bleats and baahs, evokes real emotion. Kelly’s Weezy is not just a comic highlight, she is the star of her own universe.

The two human actors – Altholz and Maris — reveal in the most natural of ways their growing understanding of the other’s real needs and what growth each may be able to achieve.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 23. Tickets are $32-$44. Capital Stage is at 2215 J St. For tickets or for more information, call (916) 995-5464 or go to capstage.org.

Capital Stage Excels with World Premiere of ‘Alabaster’ via @sacramentopress

About the author

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes has masters degrees in English and journalism and is a former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in popular culture at Stanford University. He has covered Sacramento arts and entertainment for more than 20 years. He currently writes about and reviews theater, dance, music and events in the Sacramento area.

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