Not seeing the play “Crimes of the Heart” is a crime and crying shame in my book! The City Theatre does a stupendous job at putting on such a brilliant play. The original production was Beth Henley’s first full-length play. It was the co-winner of the 1979 Great American Play Contest at Actors Theatre of Louisville. It made its New York premiere in 1980 and received many Tony nominations, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the New York Drama Critic Circle Award for Best American Play.
The play is set in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, five years after Hurricane Camille (circa 1974). Let us examine the Magrath sisters, who star in Henley’s play. Their mother hung herself, along with a cat, when they were young, leaving the sisters in the care of their grandmother and grandfather. Lenny, the oldest sister, is an old maid with a bad ovary. Meg, the middle sister, is a chronic liar who abandoned her boyfriend and has everyone convinced that she makes her living as a singer. She actually works at a pet food company. And Babe, the youngest sister, has just shot her well-known husband because she “didn’t like his looks.” The shooting of Zackery, a state senator, reunites the strange sisters at their odd childhood home. With emotional troubles in the past and immediate troubles with the law, each of the dysfunctional Magrath sisters is forced to face the consequences of her crimes of the heart.
Imaginative and hilarious, unpredictable and moving, this play is a contemporary classic. This must-see play runs through Sunday, Feb. 12.
Another upcoming City Theatre production you can’t miss is “Three Tall Women.” Earning a Pulitzer and three Best Play awards in 1994, Edward Albee’s play is a masterwork of modern theater. As an imperious, acerbic old woman recounts her life, she is tended by her duteous house keeper and a young lawyer hoping to get her accounts in order. Albee’s frank dialogue about everything from incontinence to infidelity portrays aging without sentimentality. His scenes are charged with wit, pain and laughter, and his observations tell us about forgiveness, reconciliation and our own fates. Representing individuals characters, and yet the same “everywoman” at different ages in her life, these “tall women” lay bare the truths of our lives—how we live, how we love, what we settle for and how we die. The show runs Friday, Feb. 17 – Sunday, Mar. 5.
For more information, visit citytheatreaustin.org.