Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Childhood memories baked into the ‘Perfect Pie’

Most everyone has that one childhood friend that suddenly disappeared from their life: perhaps they moved away or just drifted apart. But the memory of that friend always haunts them: so what happens when that friend reappears in their life?

In the Canadian play “Perfect Pie,” two friends: Patsy and Francesca: reconnect after 30 years, reliving their deepest and darkest secrets of the past and present.  The play, which performed from Wednesday, Nov. 12 to Sunday, Nov. 16, stars seniors Laura Gibson and Megan Duffy as Patsy and Francesca, respectively.  Their younger counterparts are played by first-year Trisha Way as young Marie and sophomore Monica Finney as young Patsy.

Chosen by theater major Mark Kennedy for his senior project, Judith Thompson’s “Perfect Pie” is the story of two women who grow up together in a small town in Canada. Marie is best friends with Patsy, until one day something terrible happens after a school dance.  Patsy ends up in a coma, and when she wakes up, Marie is gone.

The play starts 30 years after Marie leaves, as the two women reconnect in one afternoon. Flashbacks of their childhood are woven in and out of the play to reveal significant plot points relating to the characters.

“Hardly clean, empty, or unimplicating, ‘Perfect Pie’ shocks you with direct contact; the play doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable, the unclean, or the unbridled feelings that these two women experience in re-living and re-creating their past and present,” wrote Kennedy in his Director’s Note.

He couldn’t have put it any better. “Perfect Pie” is explicit and direct in its language and disturbing content: but it ends up being more of a catharsis for Marie and Patsy, as well as the audience, to express emotions that we might not know we have.

Though the script tends to be overly wordy, the earnest, real emotions expressed by the actresses (all of whom are superb) override any doubts about the script. Since the cast is so small, the actresses really have the freedom to bring these characters to life.

“I loved creating Patsy: her accent, her mannerisms, her resilience and sense of humor, even her seizures,” said Gibson.   “The hardest parts in the beginning (seizure, train crash, etc.) ended up being the most rewarding parts by the end.”

“I wanted a play that was relatively small in terms of cast size and particularly heavy on female roles, because I knew that it would be more manageable for a student director here to work with a few people and to cast better talent because of a wider talent pool,” said Kennedy. 

The strength of the all-female cast lies in their ability to confront the disturbing emotions and content that come out during the play, and the lighting in particular, which has to convey a sense of the past (a lightning storm among other things), helps to set the tone.

The beauty of this production is the many different interpretations. Is the play about two friends reconnecting, or is it really a search for identity?

“I find the search for ecstasy to be an incredibly important theme for both Patsy and Francesca, this need to get out of yourself, to combine with something else, someone else. There’s a lot going on with identity, with the repressive and violent parts of society, with how people change and why people change. You can really take your pick,” said Kennedy.

“Perfect Pie” played at Harper Joy Theater from Nov. 12 to Nov. 16. 

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