Word for Word Performing Arts Company presents their first production of the 2017 Season, SMUT: An Unseemly Story (The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson) by Alan Bennett. The play is directed by Amy Kossow, a founding member of the Z Space Studio and a Charter Member of Word for Word. In The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson (first of the two novella-sized stories in Smut) a recently bereaved widow looks for ways to supplement her time and income.
Up to that point Mrs. Donaldson’s (Nancy Shelby) life has been mundane. She’s very reserved and her daughter doesn’t fall to far from the tree. After seeing a flyer for a job that requires no special skills and a good memory, she decides to apply. She ends up discovering her love for acting as a “patient performer” and unraveling a side of herself she didn’t know she had.
The other piece of the puzzle involves a young couple Laura (Rose Hallett) and Andy (Andre Amarotico), to whom she rents her spare room. After days of avoiding her because the rent is late, they finally approach her with an indecent proposal. Can they provide her with a visual experience in lieu of rent? She agrees and a hilarious scene ensues with her at the couple’s bedside remembering chores and curiosity about positions her and her husband had never explored.
Her role-playing at the hospital becomes more facetious after the encounter with the youngins, and although the students find it nerve wrecking to find the right answers, they handle the unanticipated challenge successfully. They learn valuable lessons about assumptions. The program director, Dr. Duncan Ballantyne (Soren Oliver), is smitten with Mrs. Donaldson and is often shown acting awkwardly towards his crush. The audience is lead to a scenario of anticipation; will he ever have the courage to tell her his feelings?
The play is hilarious and not just because of the storyline but the uniqueness of the script. The actors read out their emotions and stage directions. Try it; speak out your movements while you’re doing them. Silly right? Now, imagine it on stage during a play about a middle-aged widow discovering her sexuality. The great thing is, you don’t have to as the show will be going on until June 11th.
Dates: May 13 – Jun 11
Performances; Wednesday-Thursday 7 pm, Friday-Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 3 pm
Location: Z Below at 470 Florida St. San Francisco, CA
Cost: $20, $40-$60
Purchase: 415-626-0453 or at www.zspace.org
Running time: 1 hour 30 min, no intermission
This show contains suggestive material, which may not be suitable for children. Parental Guidance is suggested. On-stage Seating: For this production there is a special on-stage seating opportunity for four patrons at each performance.