by Susan Tiedeck
Prepare for an adventure as Hedgerow Theatre stages On the Verge from January 8 to February 8, the wonderfully wacky comedy by Eric Overmyer, a playwright also known for his award-winning work on the TV shows St. Elsewhere, The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Street and Treme.
Overmyer’s clever play, a comical celebration of life, language and pop culture, sends three intrepid Victorian-era “lady explorers” on a worldwide trek to find unknown lands, which they call “Terra Incognita.” They begin in 1888, traveling through jungles and over mountains, encountering a series of unusual characters, including a cannibal with a German accent, a Yeti and a troll who recites Beat poetry. They also come across a number of unknown objects, and begin to realize that they aren’t just crossing borders, but somehow moving forward in time as they experience such modern novelties as the jacuzzi, Cool Whip and rock and roll. Before their journey of self-discovery and empowerment ends, the trio discover they have the inner strength and resourcefulness to handle anything.
The actors in the four-person cast are all familiar faces to Hedgerow audiences. Executive Director Penelope Reed plays Mary, an anthropologist whose previous travels have taken her through Africa. Jennifer Summerfield, whose recent roles include Horatio in Hamlet, Elinor in Sense and Sensibility and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, is Fanny, the only married member of the ladies, who is writing about her trip for a tabloid. Maryruth Stine, who previously appeared in The Crucifer of Blood, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, portrays Mary, an aspiring lyricist who documents the adventure with her “Kodak.” All of the other roles are handled by Brock Vickers, a Hedgerow Fellow whose credits include Rosencrantz in Hamlet, Julian in Communicating Doors and Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.
The production is directed by Kittson O’Neil, a New York actor with 20 years experience on stage, film and TV who currently serves as the Artistic Associate at the InterAct Theater Company. She trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Milwaukee Repertory Company. She’s relatively new at directing, but is quite familiar with this play, having portrayed Fanny while in college. She was excited to revisit Overmyer’s work, which she describes as “a delightful, funny adventure in the unknown for the three ladies, who find their true selves.”
Adult ticket prices for Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday shows are $29. There is a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under are $20 and $15 for students with valid ID. Tickets for the previews on October 23 and 24 are $20 for adults and $15 for students. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).