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Georgette Kleier as Della Adama Abramson as Macy
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Pandora Productions Explores The ‘Gay Wedding Cake’ Dilemma With Wit, Sorrow And Humor

From the opening of Bekah Brunstetter’s 2019 play “The Cake,” we all know that we’re within the presence of an individual who’s critical in regards to the artwork of cakery. Standing behind the counter of the cheerful small city store that bears her title, a girl named Della presents up a brisk monologue that begins with a psychological profile of the aspiring dwelling baker, proceeds to elements and methods and contains cautionary recommendation (by no means skimp) and a critical admonition: “You could observe the instructions.”

For Della, an individual steeped within the delicacies and manners of the South, a cake is as a lot an expression of values ​​as it’s of the elements. And her dedication and talent have introduced her to the cusp of fame: she’s been chosen to look as a contestant on a actuality present referred to as “The Nice American Bake-Off.”

That blithe opening — brilliantly delivered by Georgette Kleier, who stars in director Michael J. Drury’s Pandora Productions’ native premiere of the play — might have served to introduce a lightweight, frothy comedy. However as a substitute it serves to intensify the ethical and emotional disaster that follows.

It is well-known that marriage ceremony truffles have grow to be flashpoints in America’s tradition wars (the play was impressed by litigation that reached the US Supreme Court docket, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Fee).

However Brunstetter’s play doesn’t litigate these points, it explores them in a narrative wealthy in wit, sorrow — and surprisingly bawdy humor. “The Cake” is a type of uncommon performs that feels as if the author created the characters after which unleashed them to seek out their very own methods by means of. The result’s unsettling and provocative. And regardless of which aspect you are on (although my guess is that one aspect of the talk won’t ever see this play, alas), you will possible come away with a deeper understanding of the opposite.

The drama begins when a younger girl named Jen (Katie Martin) returns dwelling after years away to inform Della that she’s getting married and desires Della to bake her a marriage cake. Della, who adores Jen and was near her late mom, is delighted on the prospect — and instantly leaps to imagining the proper cake — till she learns that Jen is marrying Macy (Adama Abramson), and that the marriage will characteristic two brides.

A flurry of well mannered, panicky dissembling ensues as Della discovers that her cake-baking calendar across the time of the marriage has immediately stuffed up.

And from that second on, the play is propelled by an pressing, fast-paced script. Brunstetter is a formidable author with ample and different credit (together with NBC’s “This Is Us” and Starz’s “American Gods”). And she or he’s going about her enterprise with a fearless actually that requires an equally fearless solid.

And this manufacturing will get precisely that. I’ve not often seen a complete ensemble plunge so deeply and unreservedly into the complicated and paradoxical humanness of their characters.

Macy is an abrasive absolutist whose sense of ethical certainty provides her full license to pursue her agenda with out regard to the results or the emotions of each these she loves and people she views as enemies. She is incapable of the well mannered hypocrisies that grease the social wheels. Abramson performs the half with a steely decision so chilling that even those that agree with Macy’s rules could query their decision.

That is actually the case with Jen, who understands totally nicely that Della’s calendar is a political evasion. Jen is the product of an etiquette based mostly round refined alerts, and Martin delivers a masterful and nuanced efficiency — till her relationship with Macy explodes.

Della and her husband Tim (Joseph Hatfield) inhabit their very own intimate tragedy that ultimately grows right into a secondary plotline so poignant and comedian that it might nearly stand alone as its personal play — although right here it serves as a wonderful counterweight. As Della displays on her incapacity to sanction Jen’s lesbian marriage, she begins to query whether or not her personal marriage is really “biblical.” That line of thought results in chain of revelations that culminate in arguably the most effective bed room scene ever carried out on a Louisville stage.

Pandora has a well-established popularity as one of many metropolis’s greatest theater firms — with a particular reward for staging bold, large-scale productions. However this four-person present ranks with Michael J. Drury’s most interesting directorial work. It is detailed, daring and trustworthy (even right down to the candy closing scene).

Manufacturing values ​​at Pandora are all the time first-rate, and this present is not any exception: Eric Allgeier (set design); Jesse AlFord (lighting); Susan Neeson Toy (costumes); Ryan Bennett (props); Laura Ellis (sound design); Victoria Campbell (sound engineer); and Addie Reinhart (stage supervisor).

“The Cake” runs by means of Jan. 23 at Henry Clay Theater (604 S. Third St.). Occasions and costs differ. Go to pandoraprods.com for more information.

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