The young woman to my left was asleep in minutes. A wise woman would end the review now.
The action opens on the terrace of Di Lirio’s villa in an imaginary Italian town in The Past. The three daughters of the household, Celia (Kerry Frances), Terresa (Deanna Gibson), and Marina (Stephanie Nicole Kelley) announce they have each received marriage proposals.
There are three daughters and four suitors. Celia, with two suitors, Giovio (Nick Bombicino) and Pomposa (Jackson Thompson) is our heroine, occasionally opening her heart to us, speaking directly to the audience.
There is the predictable scramble for advantage among the men, the petty posturing by the women, the rambling logic of a slightly off-plum father. Add in a scene of young men dressed as old women and a pat, happy ending and you’ve pretty much got the jist.
Playwright Nicholas Korn warms to the farcical convention of tagging each of his one-dimensional characters with a “tell” in his name. Di Lirio (Branislav Tomich), the patriarch, is a bit delusional, just as Pomposa is pompous and Giovio jovial.
While Evan Zimmerman’s “Serio” is, indeed, serious; and Pomposa pompous it is Brandon Beilis as Timidio, that one is drawn to. Playing “timidity” brilliantly, he listens fiercely, is surprised constantly, suffers condescension nobly.
He does the hard job of acting one emotion for the whole 90 minutes, as the entire cast does. He, however, manages it with far fewer lines.
I signed up to see Delirium’s Daughters because I have a weakness for farce, a dramatic form that requires improbable situations, stereotyped characters, extravagant exaggeration and violent horseplay. It also requires a spark of madness and of fun. No definition I could find suggested it must be dull. And, sadly, Delirium’s Daughters is all of that.
Bottom line, daffy daughters, silly suitors, dead wives, and unlikely ghosts, cross dressing and flimflam, have a proud history. This contemporary version has all those elements. The direction is lively in that there is plenty of timely movement. Still, it’s snoozy.
Delirium’s Daughters was produced in March at the same address in the “Studio Theater” so one can only assume it is a tighter show now than it was then.
Delirium’s Daughters – By Nicholas Korn; directed by Kathleen Butler.
WITH: Stephanie Nicole Kelley (Marina), Deanna Gibson (Terresa), Kerry Frances (Celia), Evan Zimmerman (Serio), Jackson Thompson (Pomposa), Brandon Beilis (Timidio), Branislav Tomich (Di Lirio), Nick Bombicino (Giovio).
Designed by Abby Walsh: lighting by Alana Jacoby; Sound by Sam Kusnetz. Presented by Triumvirate Artists. At the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row 412 W 42nd Street, Manhattan. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission. Through September 20th.