Play with your Imagination
by Jenalia MorenoDaily Cougar Staff
When writers create literature, it is often a more descriptive and vivid work if they use experiences from their own lives. This is exactly what Julia Putnam believes her husband, Arthur Putnam, has done after she reads a steamy romance he has recently completed.
Bernard Slade's thrilling play An Act of Imagination, which plays at The Actors Workshop, is set in 1964, over a period of weeks, in a town outside of London. All scenes take place in the study of the Putnam household.
Michael L. Sullivan plays the eccentric and forgetful Arthur perfectly, dropping things and stumbling over his words as he muddles through the confusing turn of events. His doting wife is played marvelously by Karla Brandau-Jont.
Arthur, a popular mystery writer bases the main character of one of his novels on himself, making his wife wonder if he is having an affair. Then the "other woman" introduces herself to Julia.
Arthur's son, Simon (Jeff Mavro), and Arthur's editor, Holly Adams (Marty Campbell), also learn of the supposed affair. The "other woman" threatens to blackmail the Putnam family and the excitement begins.
No one believes Arthur has had an affair with Brenda Simmons, played by Amanda Holmes, and they question her to prove his innocence.
Her answers are directly from Arthur's romance novel, which no one has a copy of, except Holly and Arthur. Later, Brenda disappears and all the evidence points to Arthur as her killer.
The conspiracy, disclosed in Act II, is not transparent until a few minutes before it is revealed and even then, there are more surprises in the second scene of Act II.
Act I serves mainly to give the audience background about the players, dragging along slowly at times, but filled with witty remarks by the main characters.
All of the cast attempt to have an English accent and Sullivan, Brandau-Jont and Bill Symington, who played Detective Sergeant Fred Burchitt are the only characters who actually master it most of the time.
Burchitt has spent some time in England, which could account for his successful British accent. He played his character remarkably well. However, other characters in the play stumbled over their lines often, perhaps because of attempting an accent.
Mavro could not be understood in many of his lines during the first Act, but he gradually improved his performance during Act II.
Nancy Walters makes her directorial debut with this play and does a fine job of guiding the action. Although not without its flaws, the play is entertaining and a wonderful mystery. But for those who scare easily, be prepared: A gunshot is heard during the performance.
An Act of Imagination plays at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24. Matinees are at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 and 18.
The Actors Workshop is located behind George R. Brown Convention Center at 1009 Chartres. Ticket prices are $12 for students. Call 236-1844 for reservations.