Zara (played by Becca Pfeiffer) and Lucy (played by Lauren Brenner)
L to R: Felix (played by Garrick Garcia), Chuck (played by Dusty Payne), Lucy (played by Lauren Brenner), and Zara (played by Becca Pfeiffer)
Dec 14-Dec 23, 2001
|Scenic And Lighting Designer|
'Invisible Friends' should be seen
- By Cheryl Thornburg, Sun News [Friday, Dec. 14, 2001 D-1]
No Strings Theatre Company has become known for producing unusual and sometimes relatively unknown plays. This time, they have done the community a real favor by bringing to light a little-known play by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn.
"Invisible Friends" is just plain fun and is suitable for all ages. The plot centers around a young girl, Lucy Baines, whose active imagination conjures up an invisible friend to cope with her family's lack of attention. Teens and pretend will identify with Lucy's dilemma.
Lauren Brenner, a Sierra Middle School student, delivers a charming and impressive performance as Lucy. She is on stage for essentially all of the two-hour production and mastered the extensive dialogue as well as the British accent with ease.
Her invisible friend, Zara, is played by Mayfield High School student Becca Pfeiffer, whose character has a somewhat otherworldly quality that gives the show its suspense.
Zara is truly invisible for the first part of the play, but then, as Lucy becomes more unhappy and frustrated with her real family, she wishes them away, and Zara and her invisible family come to life to the delight of the audience. At first, this new family seems perfect, but they, too, have their flaws, and eventually Lucy learns the importance of family.
Theatregoers will recognize someone they know among Lucy's real family - even if in somewhat caricature form.
Her father, played with his usual flair by Patrick Payne, spends most of his time sleeping in front of the TV. Her mother, played by Jennifer Odom-Cordova, talks incessantly about neighbors and relatives. Think of a younger, energetic Edith Bunker. Joseph Sedillo turns in an outrageously funny performance as Lucy's head-banger brother, Gary.
Zara's family includes the always-funny Garrick Garcia as her father and MHS student Dusty Payne as her brother. The trio deliver a delightfully dream-like portrait of family life that is really fun to watch, and even more fun when the family starts asserting its own rules on Lucy's household.
"Invisible Friends" is a great holiday choice for director Ceil Herman because of its message about appreciating family. The production has a magical quality and is filled with some delightful surprises thanks to the technical production staff. Peter Herman is scenic and lighting designer, Meredith Loring handled properties design and Maureen Brenner designed the costumes. Michael Dick is stage manager for this production.
So if you're Scrooged-out and tired of the Grinch and Rudolph, check out "Invisible Friends." It will be a real holiday treat for the whole family.
"Invisible Friends" runs through Dec. 23 at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N Downtown Mall. Remaining performances are Dec. 14-16 and 20-23. Thursday performances are at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. Girl Scout Troup #542 will be working at the box office and as ushers and providing home-made cookies for most of the performances. Ticket prices are $7 regular, $6 students and seniors, and all seats on Thursdays are $5.
No seating plan has been posted.