By: Michael Humel
Recently Cockroach theater performed You May Go Now by Beka Brunstetter. The dialogue fell short and was uninteresting with the exception of the humor and sheltered innocence by Betty played by Brenna Folger and the sad portrayal of a man Robert played by Joe Basso looking to a life he wants to live but cannot have.
The start of the play has Dottie played by Anita Beane as a single mother who is like a stepford wife type teaching her closely guarded daughter Betty how to make a cake and keep a man once she gets him. The role of Dottie is enhanced by the character Robert. In a later scene it is revealed that Dottie had been married to Robert. He was unable to have children and this became an important theme in the play. His honest desire to have a child and pass on his knowledge falls on deaf ears as Dottie does not pay attention to him. The dramatic scenes where Robert played by Basso is talking about why he wants a child is dramatic and heart wrenchingly good. In a later scene Robert shows his unhappiness and his desire to have a child. Because of his unhappiness, inability to have a child and loneliness due to a self-centered wife he kills himself. As the play goes on Robert enters the house through various places to speak with Dottie. As these encounters go on you can see the character of Dottie become softer and sorry for what happened. The way Dottie tries to condition Betty to become a homemaker and live for the happiness of a man shows how some viewed women in the time period she is pretending to live. The explanation of how to stir a cake shows how repressed Betty is and her colorful adult language shows that even though she is confined to a life alone with her mother she takes in the influences of any outsiders.
Random compulsions by Folger to say whatever is on her mind and a continually innocent face make laughing at her dialogue easy. As the scenes progress her naivety becomes less and edges form around her smooth childlike personality. As the play progresses Dottie reveals to her daughter that she is kicking her out because it was her time to find a man and live her life. After she is kicked out she comes back because she met a boy Philip played by Alex Olson and wants to change clothes to impress him. Dottie and Philip do not get along she senses that he is trying to unveil her dark secret. Philip introduces a computer into the home which is important because it reveals the time period in which the play is set.
The sound design by Arles Estes added a sense of being in a real home when the phone rang, the front door opened and the crackling fire blazed. The set design by T.J Larsen was elaborate and pleasing to the eyes and in itself a big production. Under the direction of Erik Amblad having different ways in which Robert would enter the room through the oven or the fireplace the set itself became somewhat of a character. The main theme of the play about the importance of having a child and whether or not having a child makes life worth living rang false to me.