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The Trials and Tribulations of a Trialer Trash Housewife
a Drama w/ Comedy & Music
by Del Shores

COMPANY : The Process Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 3483

SHOWING : August 21, 2009 - September 12, 2009



The Process Theatre Company and OnStage Atlanta Theatre Company present a co-production of The Trial and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife by Del Shores, directed by DeWayne Morgan. Set in small town trailer-park Texas, this dramatic comedy explores the lives of Willadean Winkler, her abusive husband J.D., best-friend LaSonia (pronounced “Lasagna”), and trashy cocktail waitress Rayleen Hobbs. The play is scored around soul-soaring blues songs. A delicate blend of frightened humor and pain, it delves right into the heart of abuse. Explosive one-sided arguments erupt and build, until one disastrous night it all goes too far, and the lives of those in the trailer park are never the same.

Director DeWayne Morgan
Music Director Linda Uzelac
Props Designer Chris Franken
Lighting Designer Tom Gillespie
Set Designer/Builder Morgan Miller
Light Board Operator Charlie Miller
Stage Manager Betty Mitchell
Sound Designer Allison Simpson
Ass't Stage Manager Alicia Stephens
Fight Choreographer David Sterritt
Light Board Operator Carrie Walrond-Hood
Ass't Stage Manager Kristel Wunderlin
Costume Designer Alan Yeong
La Sonia Robinson Roblyn Allicia
Willadean Winkler Claire Brown
Rayleen Hobbs Jennifer Lee
Blues Singer Caitlyn Martin
J.D. Winkler Travis Young
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Something Special
by Mama Alma
Friday, August 28, 2009
Have you ever wanted to go back in time and catch one of your favorite actors at the beginning of his career? Would you have been able to see the seeds of greatness? I myself have scrambled for cast credits because I was captivated by a performance. An example would be the movie Mystic Pizza, which I saw because I like Conchata Ferrell and because I had heard there was a young actress to watch, Annabeth Gish (a relation of the great Lillian Gish). However, the performance that blew me away was by a little girl from Smyrna, Georgia who was all eyes and smile and hair (oh that hair!), and she just glowed. I remember very little about Mystic Pizza, except for the certainty I felt in my marrow that this Julia Roberts girl was something special.

It may seem odd to start a review of The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife with an aside about Julia Roberts, but the connection is this: there are two performances, in this well-crafted, well-paced and exceedingly well-acted production, that made me all tingly, with that "I'm watching greatness being born" feeling I got the first time I saw Julia Roberts on screen.

In "Trials" the scenes are introduced with blues numbers sung by Caitlyn Martin. The songs are intricately interwoven with, and expertly comment on, the action. Not merely background, they feel specific to each piece. Ms. Martin not only sings beautifully, she has attitude as well, alternately sad, sexy, and at times a little cheeky. Although her singing is integral to the play, much as the Narrator is in Our Town, it stands on its own merit as well, constituting a one woman show outside of the main piece. She's gorgeous to look at, dressed to kill, and her voice is a honeyed wine filling the thirsty parts of your soul. The blues singer weaves in and out of the Housewife's life like a guardian angel in a sexy red dress. The play's reveal, as told by the Housewife's friend, LaSonia (Roblyn Allicia), shines through the blues singer, and she becomes the prism illuminating the wasted potential of a life lived in fear.

The dust devil kicking up that fear is the character of J.D. Winkler (Travis Young), the Housewife's husband. Mr. Young doesn't so much play J.D. as inhabit him. He imbues this role with such presence and veracity as to be stunning. He is ferocious. Make no mistake, J.D. is the kind of low down character that is a waste of humanity, but the playwright is very clear that Willadean (the Housewife, played by Claire Brown) loves him and stays in what is clearly an abusive relationship because of that love. Mr. Young is able to navigate his tender scenes with Willadean with the same dexterity that he attacks the scenes of abuse, all without losing the integrity of his character. Comparisons always spring to my mind when I see his work: Anthony Hopkins, Toby Maguire, and a young actor I like very much: Jeremy Renner. You never see them "acting." There's such purity and clarity in their work. Travis Young belongs in that company.

Certainly, this creates a problem for Mr. Young. "Trials" contains very graphic language and violence, and the actor told me that some nights he'd like to just slink out the back door. It is a testament to his conviction and courage that he doesn't pull his punches in his characterization. J.D. is the fulcrum upon which the play moves, and he has to be a monster for Willadean to engage in battle. It's called acting, but the great ones make it look like they're not acting.

After the performance I asked Director DeWayne Morgan where he had found all these wonderful actors, because they were all excellent (including an unrecognizable Jennifer Lee as the comically sluttish Rayleen). All the work was great, but keep your eye on these two: Caitlyn Martin and Travis Young. You'll be hearing more from them. They're something special.


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