Fifth of July

Fifth of July is a play about a bunch of characters reminscing about the "good old days". As such, it is mostly an exercise in nostalgia and has little in-depth meaning. The play is character-driven, and a description of the characters alone serves as a plot synopsis as it is purely the interaction of these chracters that form the basis of the story.

The characters are all drawn together to the town of Lebanon, Missouri to scatter the ashes of Matt Friedman, the late husband of Aunt Sally (Heather Iandoli), a wise old woman prone to preoccupation. Among them include June Tally (Rebecca Wyhof), the cynical ex-sixties-radical, her illegitimate daughter Shirley (Marney Peterson), ambitious, intelligent, and only 14 years old, Ken Tally (Dan Schachner), June's brother, crippled during the Vietnam War struggling to find his way back to teaching, Jed Jenkins (Jerry Dasti), Ken's lover with a Master's in Botany, and Gwen (Michelle Johncock) and John Landis (Benjamin T. Rishworth), friends of June and Ken from their Berkeley days---she's a would-be country singer and he's prone to wheeling and dealing behind her back. Rounding out the cast, we have Weston Hurley (Steven Varol), a doped-up songwriter with some interesting tales about Eskimos.

I saw the this production at the Experimental Theatre at American University under the direction of Gail Humphries. The acting is fairly decent, and Schachner (who I've seen before in All in the Timing and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) definitely shows potential. The music during the intermission was excellent, as was the stage and lighting design. However, the play itself is rather boring and unless you have ulterior motives, I'd skip this one.

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