Veronica’s Room at the Bergen County Players, is a deep, well-moving show. Written by Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives, A Kiss Before Dying), Levin always brings the perverse to his writings. Levin, who was born and lived in Manhattan wrote till this day, one of my favorite plays, Deathtrap. What is most notable about Levin, is that his writings often have a lot of twists and turns, which require a lot of thought. Veronica’s Room is no different.
As to not spoil the plot, programs for the audience normally list the characters as Woman, Man, Girl and Young Man. This keeps the audience not knowing what the final outcome would be. Like Deathtrap, Veronica’s Room, has many changes in its plot.
The play is about a middle aged couple, John and Maureen Mackey, bringing a young couple, Susan and Larry, to a Suburban Boston home where the Mackeys are caretakers. Susan and Larry have begun to date, and the Mackeys approach them in a restaurant due to Susan’s resemblance to a dead women Veronica. They explain that Veronica’s elderly, senile sister, Cissie, is now in their charge, and Susan agrees to dress up as Veronica in an effort to bring closure for Cissie. The year is 1973, but Cissie believes it to be 1935.
Like many of Ira Levin’s works, the first act sets up the audience. Levin gives us some twists and turns in the first act’s of his plays. His second act, however, is when he ramps it up. Veronica’s Room, is no different, as we get the full speed of these four actors. Trapped in a room, Girl (Elizabeth Erdmann), cannot believe what is happening to her. A modern young women who attends Boston University, is stuck in a nightmare that has unfolded in front of her. To her, and the audience, her experience is surreal.
Ira Levin is not easy to direct, but Ellyn Essig does a nice job with this play. Essig moves the actors along nicely and by the second act and the actors are in full stride of their roles.
In Veronica’s Room, lighting is essential to whether this play works or not, as is the sound. Both Gerard Bourcier and Rob De Scherer do an admirable job in securing that this play is a success on all fronts.
Maureen Mulvihill’s costumes were terrific. Capturing the 70s and the 1930s, Mulvihill captured the time periods perfectly—from Woertz’s caretaker wardrobe, to his 30’s, successful textile owner’s debonair, regal look, to Guarnaccia’s shanty Irish nursemaid, to her stunning 30’s garb.
The Players put on a very interesting take of Ira Levin’s Veronica’s Room, a play in two acts, forty minutes each act. Well-acted by all four actors, smooth direction and a great story made this fun to watch. Also worth mentioning was that the set was very well done. Michael Smith’s set design was very much the part of the success of this play. Mindful of every detail, this set was well done and made the audience comfortable in this deep, dark play.
Joanne Guarnaccia was a standout in this performance. From her really good Irish accent, to her outbursts, Guarnaccia captured and owned her role as a sick, demented woman who believed her own little world.
The Bergen County Players have been putting on great theater for many years. Voted 2018 Best of Bergen in 201 magazine, they always put on plays and musicals that are both entertaining and fun to watch. Veronica’s Room is no exception. Veronica’s Room plays till March 9th and should not be missed. The Bergen Players is located on Kinderkamack Road in Oradell, NJ.
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I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I’ve seen over700 shows
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