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.