Women In Theatre presents ‘The Deer and the Antelope’

PUHI — This play presented by the members of Women In Theatre (WIT), “The Deer and the Antelope,” comes with a disclaimer: “Not suitable for youth under 14.” That’s because it involves four very different women, one who is suicidal, one who thinks every disaster is her fault, one who was stuck in a marriage that didn’t mean anything, and one who may have been a prostitute.

This play is a sort of a serious comedy, think “Desperate Housewives” serious comedy, without their being housewives.

It starts out with mother and teenage daughter, Carol (Deborah Cecil) and Mindy (Nell Roversi-Deal), having lost their home to a fire.

The two are forced to move in with Carol’s mother, Eleanor (Jo Grande). Eleanor, meanwhile, had placed an ad in the paper to rent a room, before knowing the two had to move in.

A young woman named Kennetta (Sandi O’Shaughnessey) responds to the ad. Eleanor, not knowing what to do, invites her over, but said she wasn’t promising anything.

Kennetta rooms with the emotionally-disturbed Mindy, and so starts the play in motion.

Kennetta starts on a mission to show her new friends the pleasures of life.

WIT president O’Shaughnessey read the play while out on vacation, and just knew that it was a perfect play for the theater troupe members.

“Roberta Wallace gave me the play to read, and I fell in love with it,” O’Shaughnessey said. “It was just the right blend of drama and comedy, with really strong roles for women. It was an opportunity for four to showcase their talent.” O’Shaughnessey also found it interesting that a play with such intense scenes dealing with women’s problems was written by a man.

“It was the same thing with ‘Proof’ from last year. It’s interesting to see a man’s perspective,” she said.

O’Shaughnessey said she found similarities between herself and Kennetta, and that finding similarities is important to making the play believable.

“We’re both generous, we’re both problem- solvers,” she said. “I think there’s a line 2006Kennetta says, ‘I get off helping others.’ I’m kind of like that too. You have to find that character within yourself or it won’t be real.” The main message in the show, O’Shaughnessey said, is forgiveness.

“It’s forgiving ourselves, and forgiving each other,” she said. “You have to forgive yourself before you can move on. Carol needs to forgive herself for thinking everything was her fault. Mindy has to forgive herself for starting the fire. Eleanor needs to forgive herself for staying in a loveless marriage, and Kennetta has to forgive herself for having a trashy past.” The play’s director, Natalie Goss, said the title refers to the old folk song, “Home on the Range.” “The title of the play is taken from a line from that song. It reflects a yearning for innocence, where people want life to be at. And that’s where the drama comes from,” Goss said.

Goss is here from the Mainland to work with WIT again, and direct the show. She first came here in 1996 to direct the play “Sylvia.” Last year, she directed “Proof.” “Women in Theatre bring good spirit (to shows),” Goss said. “The energy four women can produce on stage can be magical.” But the weather and tragedies on the North Shore halted production of the play and became a challenge for the cast. Goss wasn’t fazed.

“The closing of the roads and the tragedy affected one of the actresses in the play, and we had to cancel some rehearsals. I knew the strength of these actresses, so I didn’t think we couldn’t do the show,” Goss said.

“The continuity of everything was broken, but I knew it would be OK.” The show goes up tonight at the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center in Puhi at 7 p.m., and runs through Sunday, also at 7 p.m. There will be a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

For more information or reservations, call the WIT hotline at 635-3727.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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