A theatrical review of Two heads are better productions’ “Escape From The Garden” (aka “Tracy in the Kitchen”) written by Sarah Hunter, directed by Marianne Davis and continues through March 27 at the Two Roads Theater.
What a pleasure to sit in a theater again. And what an unexpected treat is playwright Sarah Hunter’s new show, “Escape From The Garden” (aka “Tracy in the Kitchen”) at the Two Roads Theater in Tujunga Village!
The story revolves around an unemployed and aging actress, Tracy Greene. Hiding away in her tiny two-bed flat with her hardworking teacher husband and daughter, a struggling actress herself, Ms Greene yearns for better times as she laments the terrible review of her latest role as Blanch DuBois in “A Street Car Named Desire” at the Ahmanson. Her confidence torn apart, she finds solace in writing her own play about Marie Antoinette with whom she finds a kindred spirit in a misunderstood and seductive woman ahead of her Although that might not be the best turn of phrase given the method of its premature end.
Mrs. Greene wanders around her kitchen, eats takeout, and never dresses more than her extensive collection of bathrobes. She writes Antoinette into existence, as much a companion as a metaphor But, as she does, her grip on reality slips further into the sewers, hand in hand with the maintenance man of her building whose house she ruthlessly manipulates tender attentions, using it as both a reader line and a moral nudge. Although, of course, he longs for a much more physical connection.
All this while her husband loses patience and his daughter wins the lead role in her budding career. It’s a sorry state for Ms. Greene, made worse by the fact that her acting is absolutely appalling. Something she learns when her daughter gives it to her new manager at her own insistence. At this point, all hell breaks loose, her husband discovers that she is mercilessly courting the maintenance man to bolster his ego, the maintenance man is heartbroken, his daughter livid, and they all leave her fester on its own and find its way out of the trouble that it alone has created for itself.
“Escape From The Garden” is absolutely hilarious and the entire cast does a truly wonderful job of stirring up Mrs. Greene’s flamboyant and totally unrealistic desires.
Sandra Cruze as Mrs. Greene is brilliant – earthy, grumpy, girlish, scruffy, and utterly charming. She flirts and flatters, honks and cries, coaxes and begs her way through her sad, closed existence. However, as ridiculous as she is, you can totally believe why everyone in her life indulges in her like this.
Childish at times, surprisingly wise at others. She seeks Antoinette’s humanity and understanding as if she needed to know her for herself. But as spoiled and narcissistic as she’s become, she’s really not as fragile and scared as the rest of us, she just hides it less effectively.
I loved this piece. Funny, warm and full of fascinating facts about Marie Antoinette that I didn’t know I needed to know! We must support theatre, especially small theater and new plays and glorious women who fearlessly follow their hearts.
I highly recommend “Escape From The Garden”. What a great way to get back to the theater! Well done!
Aurelio Miguel Bocanegra
Until March 27
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.
Theater of the two roads
4348 Tujunga Avenue
Studio City, 91604