There has to be care, attention to detail, and compassion when staging the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, especially when it lays bare the inner life of an aging character struggling with memory issues.
In its latest creation, Post Productions applies just enough tact and empathy to allow its audiences to embrace the lead character of Three Tall Women with open arms. The play runs for one more weekend of theatre bliss (Feb. 24, 25 & 26 at The Shadowbox Theatre) as Ontario reopens to the performing arts.
The story highlights an elderly woman’s life, which is laid out for display as her memories and reminiscences are unceremoniously examined. Throughout the two-act show, she is forced to ponder who she is and how she came to be that way.
In it’s opening act, the elderly woman is an endearing, sometimes hostile old woman in her 90s who lies dying as she is tended to by two other women. One is her nurse and the other, her lawyer, both of which treat her with indignities and shame.
In the closing act, we see three versions of the old woman at different stages in her life – at 92, 52 and 26 – as they overlook their own dying body. The conversation gets really revealing as each woman tells the story of their era – sometimes funny, sometimes sexual, and other times depressing and sad. It all adds up to a life well lived, complete with mistakes and victories. Things get complicated and prickly when her estranged son makes an appearance at her bedside.
This is the type of show that makes you contemplate your own life and the mistakes and glories you’ve experienced through the years, considering how others might view those memories. Post does a marvelous job with such an emotional roller coaster of a play. It tells more with using four players than most plays of this length and I dare you to leave this show without wiping a tear or ten from your eyes as you watch.
An outstanding performance from Mary Grace Weir leads the show as A, the un-named senior. In the first act, she’s fragile and aggressive. It’s unclear if she’s suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, but her frustrations remembering her life’s stories is evident, as we see her crumble in front of our very eyes. In the second act, she has a strong wit and savvy charm as she tells the other two women her version of the story. I doubt the show would have been as successful had Post not selected Weir for the role.
ay Lynn (nurse and B) and Rebecca Mickle (lawyer and C) round out the female leads with an accurate and believable version of the old lady at different stages in her life. The show is rounded out with Alex Monk who plays the silent estranged son, who stands, sits and nervously paces around his dying mother’s body.
Three Tall Women is a triumphant opening to Post Productions’ 2022 season, which offers its first full schedule since 2019. There are only three more shows to this season’s opener still available on February 24, 25 and 26 at The Shadowbox Theatre in Windsor. Tickets are $25 and are available online only at postproductionswindsor.ca.
Other shows by Post Productions this season include: The Rhinoceros Woman & Squirrel Party by Edele Winnie (April 23 to 30), Prepared by Kari Bentley-Quinn (June 17 to July 2), Stuck by Jonathan Tessier (September 30 to October 15), and Pirate Attack On The 1C Bus Going Downtown by Joey Ouellette (November 18 to December 3).