One of the difficulties of topical theater is that it's hard to stay on top of the topics, a problem illustrated by the Pro Femina Theatre's latest offering, "Close Calls/Far Cries." It is a short, well-performed piece that takes on the dilemma of the modern superwoman, offering vivid images but little provocative to say on this fairly shopworn topic.
The Pro Femina creates its works as a collective, and the seamless ensemble playing of the four female performers is perhaps the product of this style. This play, the theater's ninth work, tells the odyssey of Eva, played in turn by each of the four actresses as she progresses through different stages of life and crisis, in a fluid style in which props and sets are mimed, and inner thoughts personified.
We meet Eva as a graduate student and budding author, mother and wife. In short order, her book has been rejected, and her supportive husband leaves because she has not been supportive to him. She learns to express her feelings, learns not to be constantly expressing her feelings, gets a job, hates her job, finds creative fulfillment in the arts, finds a "positive relationship" with another woman, tries and abandons yoga, learns to face pain, achieves some peace and harmony, then worries that she has settled for too little. Sound familiar?
A focus on modern women as subject matter or as audience could be fruitful, but if such theater is going to enlighten it must reach beyond stating the obvious. The professionalism and appeal of the four graceful performers and the briskness of the direction does not compensate for what is basically an underachieving script.
CLOSE CALLS/FAR CRIES, conceived and performed by Nancy Castle, Susan Patz McInerney, M'Lafi Sylvia Thompson, and Sarah Pleydell Walton; conceived and directed by Leslie Bravman Jacobson; lighting by Michael Henderson; set by Kim Peter Kovac; costumes by William Pucilowsky.
At the Y.W.C.A. Thursday through Sunday until Nov. 8; at the New Playwrights' Theatre after Dec. 4.