“It’s All Relative,” a production written and directed by Kimberly Q. Orchids played at the Hudson Guild on July 30, as part of its contribution to the Thespis Theater NYC Festival being held at 441 West 26th Street in Manhattan.
The play takes place in a Senior Citizen complex in Newark, NJ, entitled “Relives.” It is there that our characters congregate in a human tangle of love, hate, depression, gaiety, judgment, sorrow and need.
Each character is complex. George (played by Eric Coleman) for example, is in the first stages of Alzheimer. His memory goes in and out at the most inconvenient of times, especially since he is the love interest of two of the resident ladies, whose friendship has gone awry since they both took an interest in George and are now fighting over him, but for two entirely different reasons. George has concerns of his own which are revealed when he receives a devastating letter that pulls him back toward a family he has long neglected. He realizes the mistakes he has made and seeks to amend what may not be emendable.
Louise (Sharon Quinn) is lonely. She is a beauty that in aging finds herself burdened with hip problems, having to get about on a cane and/or walker. She feels a loss of her female prowess so thrusts herself into an unrequited imagined romance. She is desperate for love and sets her sights on George whose confusion leaves him unprepared to deal with the grasping and needy love of Louise. Towering over George in height, Louise to George is more bully than love interest.
Pearl’s party girl persona is more a mask to cover up secrets that has left her hiding her true feelings from everyone. She teases and insists she be left to live her life any way she wishes. However, she is still trying to find out who she is. Played by Leah Pearson-Finnie, the character Pearl experiments with her sexuality more as an after-thought than a real commitment. Nothing is taken seriously. She is even going after George only to upset Louise and because George does not judge her constant drinking as her friend Mimi does. Suddenly Pearl’s well kept secret in the form of Blake (David M. Raine) shows up forcing Pearl to deal with the more serious aspects of her life. Something she cannot cover up with jokes and a devilish carefree attitude.
Arlene A. McGruder brings MiMi to life as the Sr. Home Assistant Leader. The one, who assists in planning the events and parties for her group of senior friends, in an attempt to bind them all together as a cohesive group. Often judging her friends, MiMi seeks to pull their lives together in a neat package designed to make MiMi comfortable. Something her 42 year old daughter Delilah (Kaili Y. Turner), rails against in seeking to get out from under her mother’s control in order to carve out a piece of her own life at long last. MiMi’s world falls apart when suddenly the fabric of her carefully planned family order begins to pull apart tearing in directions beyond her control leading to a mysterious end.
And finally there is Trina, played by playwright and actress Kimberly Q who stepped in at the last moment to aptly play the role. Trina is the most honest of them all. She admits to having a lengthy relationship with a woman who died and left her alone. Grieving, Trina goes years without a relationship contenting herself with her art and various platonic friendships. Yet it is Trina who tries to be the peacemaker bringing some sort of order to disorder.
The playwright seems to suggest that while we are all involved in a struggle to make sense of our personal intrigues, entanglements, destinies and relationships with others, it’s all relative to our own self discovery.