Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers - Theatre Review

By Annette Semerdjian

"Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers" is not only a great name for a metal band but also the title of Skylight Theatre's new play. Written by Louisa Hill, the story spans from the 60s to the 90s beginning with Dee who gets pregnant at 17 and is forced to give away her baby.

Dee, played by Corryn Cummins, was raised in a Catholic household during what was called the Baby Scoop Era when maternity homes coerced pregnant girls into giving up their babies for adoption. Cummins delivers a compelling performance as her character takes on the pain of having her newborn child ripped from her hands.

The second half of the play focuses on Corie, Dee's daughter, who struggles with an abusive adoptive family before being thrown in the foster care system. Michaela Slezak plays the rebellious, metal-loving Corie in a raw and evocative performance that walks the line between comic relief and tear jerker.

The supporting roles played by Adrian Gonzalez and Amy Harmon flowed with the shifting scenes as their presence in the unlit background often loomed over Dee and Corie's journey through time.  Once in the spotlight, Gonzalez and Harmon transform into completely different characters within seconds as they step into each of their multiple roles.

From the cellist playing somber tunes to the lighting creating each scene like a movie, every element of the setting and background continue the story where words end. Each subtle detail further depicts the story lines, such as Dee's parents sitting with their backs to her in the corner as they ultimately turn their backs on her suffering.

The motif of growth is prevalent throughout the play as every seemingly trivial detail traces back to the importance of a person's roots. The characters present witty and well-written dialogue that challenges the audience to think about the dichotomy of good versus bad in modern society, especially as it pertains to women's behavior. The title of the play is more than just an eye-catcher and delivers the feminist message it proposes.

Don't miss the chance to experience "Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers" at Skylight Theatre running through May 28.

Posted By Annette Semerdjian on April 26, 2017 01:10 pm | Permalink