Not every play has to be an over-the-top extravaganza (thank goodness), and Marshall has crafted a gem of a "small" show with its latest production, Mauritius.
The play focuses on two dysfunctional step-sisters (hoo boy, are they ever dysfunctional) who are picking up the pieces after the death of their mother.
One sister, Jackie (played with poignance and grit by Story Moosa), was left behind to care for her aging mother, and feels the crushing weight of debt and despair.
The other sister, Mary (played with haughty determination by Mandy Harper), left home at a young age and achieved success - and never looked back.
Jackie sees possible salvation in a book of stamps that include some rare specimens that may be worth a fortune. But do the stamps belong to her - or to Mary?
Jackie's attempts to find their value leads her to a shop with a quirky owner, Phillip (the very funny M.G. Dalton), and the shady Dennis (played by skill and cunning by Remy Sylvain), who brings in a potential buyer, the mercurial Sterling (played with dynamic energy by Ethan Lyvers).
The results manage to combine both dramatic conflict and a lot of humor (not to mention a fair share of adult language and fisticuffs).
It's a clever story about broken people and their desperate efforts to put the pieces of their lives together. The production has a small but mighty cast and an artful and clever set, and will keep you guessing throughout.
I enjoyed it and recommend it highly!
I almost forgot to add, since she suggested it, that the production was framed nicely by my pal Sarah Hayes - I watched it over her shoulder (she was sitting in the row in front of me).
You only have one more chance to catch the production! Marshall University’s Theatre Department presents Mauritius on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at The Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for faculty and senior citizens, and $7 for children ages 5 to 12.