Carpenter Square treats Pulitzer-winning ‘Picnic’ with reverence

William Inge’s Pulitzer Prizewinning play, “Picnic,” revolves around the people in a tiny Kansas town getting together for a Labor Day celebration. But what rides beneath the action is not fellowship so much as loneliness ““ a gnawing ache to escape the boredom of their existence.
Handsome drifter Hal blows into town, catching the attention of all the women in the Owens household and their boarders. One young woman, Madge, is immediately enchanted by him.
Scott Venters is appealing as Hal, balancing the sociopathic character’s charm and dark side nicely, although, his six-pack abs seem awfully contemporary for the Fifties. Dusty Reasons is gorgeous as Madge, illuminating the character’s almost crippling fear that fleeting beauty is all she has.
Other than an occasional sluggish pace, Carpenter Square Theatre director Michael Payne has put together a thoughtful and nicely acted piece. The outdoor farmstyle set and period costumes are outstanding.
With its charming characters and dark themes, Inge’s portrait of people is not so much a “good vs. bad” story but the more complex “good vs. good.” The dramatic battle here happens every day: how to put an acceptable face on monotonous, unfulfilling lives. “Linda McDonald

Linda McDonald

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