Thoughts & Musings

Harold & Maude

2nd Story brings another story to vivid life here, and you absolutely don't want to let this one pass you by.

by Will Demers, EDGE
  • 7th July 20167/07/16
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Being a teenager is difficult enough when you’re dealing with what your future might be, parents, and finding a date. After all, at 19 years-old the whole world is your oyster, and picking the right situations can mold you into the adult that you’ll eventually become. But what if you don’t fit in? We can all relate to feeling left out, and not really being able to do what everyone else does.

Such is the case with Harold Chasen. Obsessed with the idea of death, he fakes his own suicide on a regular basis, much to the chagrin of his single mother. Visiting funeral services every chance he gets, he’ll meet someone who will change his life. “Harold and Maude” is based on a screenplay by Colin Higgins and was a film released in 1971 to mixed reviews and lukewarm box office. But the film eventually garnered cult status, as many films do.

Harold (Evan Kinnane) lives with mom (Paula Faber) and their maid (Jen Michaels, who plays a cop and gardener, as well.) Both women are at wit’s end with the boy, regularly “hanging” himself, or faking his own stabbing in front of would be dates. You see, Mrs. Chasen has signed up Harold to a computer dating service, and the girls that are sent (Valerie Westgate, playing three very funny roles,) run for the hills after meeting him.

The exception is Maude (Isabel O’Donnel) who takes immediately to Harold even though he doesn’t understand this much older free spirit at first. She’s wild, impulsive and spontaneous. Pushing 80 years-old, she’s lived and learned much, and will teach him that there’s more to life than obsessing over funerals and blowing up chemistry labs. Mrs. Chasen plods on with her attempt at reforming him, summoning a doctor (Charles Lafond, bright and funny) and a priest (F. William Oakes) who are just as confused as she is about the situation.

Director Kevin Broccoli assembles a talented group of people to flesh out this latest 2nd Story production, and it’s truly magical. The always talented Faber is delightful as the mother. Jen Michaels is solid in her three roles, but giddy as the hapless maid. Oakes makes his priest funny, also, and his moments are some of the best bits in the show. But our two leads are inspiring, and both bring some amazing chemistry to the roles of Maude and Harold.

Kinnane is appropriately wide-eyed and confused as the young man, at first shocked by Maude’s behavior, but his performance in honest and heartbreaking, certainly one to watch. O’Donnel’s Maude is amazing; she spouts her lines as if she was truly this extraordinary woman, with a naturalness that cannot be denied. The two play off each other with zeal, and it cements the production flawlessly. The costumes by Ron Cesario are stars in their own right, the ’70s fashions and Cat Stevens soundtrack bring us to another time.

2nd Story brings another story to vivid life here, and you absolutely don’t want to let this one pass you by.

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