April 13, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Center Stage: The World Premiere of “Chasing Mem’ries” Lands at the Geffen With a Thud

By Beverly Cohn

 

I might as well get it said from the top. “Chasing Mem’ries,” written and directed by Josh Ravetch, is an unbearable schmaltzy, overly sentimental, soppy play. Billed as “A Different Kind of Musical,” that is an apt sub-heading as this is definitely not a musical, but a dramedy with music and only the compelling performance by Tyne Daly, the grieving widow Victoria, will keep you from snickering at the hackneyed dialogue unfolding on the Geffen stage.

The action takes place in Victoria’s crammed attic, which is filled with mementos reflecting the family history some of which include books written by her recently deceased professor husband Franklin, well played by Robert Forster. Other relics accumulated throughout their 57-year marriage include a high chair, a three-wheel bike, a two-wheel bike, tennis rackets, and family albums which Victoria rummages through and sings an occasional song with Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s eminently forgettable lyrics, but interesting music by Bill Cantos & Mari Falcone, Dave Grusin, Marvin Hamlisch, Michel Legrand, and Johnny Mandel.

Victoria’s son Mason, beautifully brought to life by Scott Kradolfer, repeatedly tries to get his mother to join the around 300 guests assembled on the lawn of their home for Franklin’s memorial service. Victoria has decided not to join the guests and continues to hide out in the attic, where the action begins and ends. Mason tries over and over again to convince his mother to join their guests, some of whom she doesn’t like. She seems to have a particular dislike for a guest named Thelma who apparently showed up at the memorial wearing pumps generally referred to as an invitation to perform a sex act on oneself and sporting a tiara. Although we never actually see Thelma, we conger up a vision of someone dressed to go night clubbing rather than attending a memorial service. The other thing we learn about this unseen character is that she doesn’t have a pleasant singing voice and Victoria absolutely does not want her to sing Alan & Marilyn Bergman’s iconic “The Way We Were.” To engage in conversation, Victoria asks Mason, who is an astronomer, about his fiancé, who is an astronaut, and was recently launched into outer space. She sent him a note from the great beyond that she is breaking up with him because he was at a conference and missed the blast off. What decent boyfriend misses his fiancé’s journey into space? The conversation then segues into Mason confessing that since his childhood was so perfect, and his parents so perfectly happy, he didn’t know how to cope with any problems that might come up in relationships that were less than perfect. What Mason doesn’t know is that his mom is having an ongoing dialogue with his deceased father who constantly appears and disappears, but not really because there he stands as big as life. (Perhaps some “mood” lighting might have rendered those scenes more believable?) Much like Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” the only one who can see the “invisible” ghost is Victoria and when Mason reappears to once again try to convince his mother to leave the attic, Franklin moves upstage to be somewhat out of the picture. Victoria and her dead husband dance and reminisce about their idyllic life together with Victoria declaring that she simply cannot go on without him. In a “win one for the Gipper” moment, Franklin convinces Victoria that she must go one with her life and after shouting amusing instructions through the attic window to the gathered friends below, Victoria musters up her courage and walks down the stairs to face the crowd. The end.

There’s not much to say about the technical elements of the production other than if the script and lyrics matched Tony Fanning’s excellent scenic design, this could have turned out to be a really compelling evening of theatre. But then again, to see Tyne Daly reveal the grief and heartbreak of losing a loved one is worth the price of admission.

The Geffen Playhouse: 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 9002. Run: Tuesday – Friday: 8 p.m.; Saturday: 3 and 8 p.m. ; Sunday: 2 and 7 p.m.; Closing: December 17, 2017. Tickets: $25-$90; Students: $25. 310.208.5454, geffenplayhouse.com

Related Posts

Registration Now Open for Summer at New Roads

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

New Roads School is accepting registration for its summer program, a vibrant selection of classes and camps curated to meet...

CodeREV Inspires Kids to Code

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Budding coders, robotics engineers, game developers, animators and STEM campers are invited to join CodeREV this summer for a memorable...

YMCA Santa Monica: When School Is Out, Camp Is In

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

As the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District nears its end,  YMCA Santa Monica is setting up for its popular Summer...

Top 4 Party Boat Rentals in San Diego

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Here’s a rundown of the top 4 party boat rentals that will elevate any event to an unforgettable experience: Alana...

Accents Owner Steven Hanna Reflects on Decades Long Legacy

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

For 37 years, Accents Jewelry has transcended mere commerce, evolving into a vibrant community, a crucible of creativity, and a...

Discover the Untold Story of Folk-Rock Icon Judee Sill in “Lost Angel” Documentary

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Directors Share Insights into the Life and Legacy of the Enigmatic Musician By Dolores Quintana Have you ever heard of...

O.J. Simpson, Infamous Football Star Accused of Murder, Dies at 76

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Controversial Figure Succumbs to Cancer Shortly After Diagnosis Orenthal James Simpson, a former football player who is best known for...

Lyft Driver Faces Felony Sexual Assault Charges, Passenger Was Traveling Between Weho and Santa Monica

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

District Attorney Files Charges Following Allegations by Female Passenger On April 10, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced...

Los Angeles General Medical Center Seeks Public’s Help to Identify Patient Found in West LA

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Hospital Appeals for Assistance in Reuniting Unknown Patient with Family The Los Angeles General Medical Center, a public hospital operated...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew’s Interview; Film Opens on Friday

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

(Video) The New Menu Experience at Cassia Restaurant in Santa Monica is Delicious

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

The Southeast Asian dishes satisfy. Friendly ambiance, flavorful food, subtle cocktails, beer and wine, and scrumptious desserts. @culvercitywlanews The New...

Woman Shares Apocalyptic Messages On Social Media Before Woodland Hills/Culver City Murder-Suicide

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Social Media Posts Precede Tragic Events at Family’s Home and on the 405 Freeway Reports have surfaced that a 34-year-old...

SB 1509 Advances: Malibu Officials Rally Behind Negligent Operator Treatment Bill

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Senator Stern’s Legislation Gains Momentum in Effort to Curb Reckless Driving SB 1509, the Negligent Operator Treatment bill spearheaded by...

Now Enrolling: St. Matthew’s Summer Enrichment Program

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Discover the magic of St. Matthew’s Parish School through their Summer Enrichment Program, offering a timeless summer camp experience infused...

Rolling Robots Camp is a ‘Tech Genius Program’

April 9, 2024

April 9, 2024

Roll out the .. robots.  An afterschool learning center for robotics and STEM is hosting weekly camps this summer designed...