Northwest NEWS

September 2, 2002


Snow flurries bring relationship worries in ACT's 'Wintertime'

by Deborah Stone
   Arts and Entertainment
   ACT's mainstage season continues with Charles L. Mee's edgy, romantic comedy, "Wintertime."
   This bittersweet tale of love and jealousy, directed by Brian Kulick (director of Mee's previous hit at ACT, "Big Love"), explores the tangled web of relationships amid multi-generations.
   Suspicion and deceit play havoc with several couples of an extended family at an unintentional reunion on the grounds of a mountain cottage in December.
   Walt Spangler's picture perfect winter-wonderland set is the ideal backdrop for the intense complications that ensue among the various lovers.
   Jonathan (Michael A. Newcomer) and his girlfriend Ariel (Sarah Grace Wilson), arrive at Jonathan's family's winter cottage hoping to be alone for a romantic weekend, only to discover Jonathan's sexy mother, Maria (Suzanne Grodner) and her lover, Francois (Daniel Oreskes), already situated at the cottage.
   Maria's husband, Frank (Robert Dorfman) and his partner Edmund (Timothy McCuen Piggee) arrive shortly later, with the similar intention of spending some quality time by themselves.
   Add to this mix a pair of elderly female neighbors, Bertha (Beth Andrisevic) and Hilda (Laura Kenny), and the full spectrum of young love to old love is represented, along with the entangled relationships of parents and children, husbands and wives and men and women.
   Misunderstandings result which lead to insecurities, accusations and hostilities. There is constant bickering among the characters, who blame one another for their problems, and destructive tantrums erupt in volcanic fashion.
   "Wintertime" is a highly entertaining production with the theatricality and hilarity that have become Mee's trademarks. At times, however, the outlandish quality of the characters' behaviors and their continuous tirades get tiresome and tedious.
   The cast is strong and performs its roles with much gusto and great comedic timing.
   Of special note is actor Paul Morgan Stetler, in the role of Bob, a deliveryman, who interrupts the group of quarreling lovers and proceeds to give his thoughts on love and its inclination towards destruction. In an expressionless, deadpan delivery that snags enormous laughs, Stetler explains the Grecian roots of this propensity and then abruptly exits, leaving the others speechless.
   In the end, each of the characters comes to the realization that love is a special gift to be nurtured and treasured and that trust is the glue that holds together all relationships.
   "Wintertime" runs through Sept. 15. For ticket information, call (206) 292-7676.