Mississippi sisters in dysfunctional family reunite in tragicomedy
The next offering from World’s End Theater is Beth Henley’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning play Crime of the Heart on Feb. 23 at 69 Main St. in Cold Spring. The fourth play this season in WET’s 20th-Century Classics Reading Series is directed by Jenn Lee, with a cast of local professionals including Liz Convertino, Donald Kimmel and Katie Bissinger as well as Hudson Valley Shakespeare favorites Carl Howell, Angie Janas and Katie Hartke.
At the core of the tragic comedy are the three McGrath sisters, raised in a dysfunctional family with more than its share of mental illness, petty rivalry and a heaping dose of Southern eccentricity. Black sheep Meg and spinster Lenny reunite at their family’s home in Mississippi after youngest sister Babe shoots her abusive husband because she “just doesn’t like his looks.” On the heels of her own failed life in Hollywood, Meg swoops in to help Lenny pick up the pieces after Babe’s “real bad day.”
Past resentments bubble to the surface as they’re forced to deal with assorted relatives and romantic relationships, both past and present, as well as their complicated relationships with each other. Each sister is forced to face the consequences of the “crimes of the heart” she has committed in the face of the fallout from Babe’s murder attempt and their grandfather’s seriously failing health.
Crimes of the Heart offers a look into the tragically comic emotional lives of the three eccentric sisters and the people who have to deal with them. It won Best Play of the Year from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk and Theater World as well as the Tony for 1981. The 1986 film adaptation with Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton and Jessica Lange garnered three Academy Award nominations, including one for Henley for Best Screenplay.
The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, and is free to the public. Due to limited seating, early arrival is encouraged. Seating is first-come, first-served. For more information about World’s End Theater, visit their website at worldsendtheater.org