Friday, October 16, 2009

The Ruby Sunrise

The Ruby Sunrise, produced by The Theater Project, features the intriguing story of a farm girl (Ruby) who nearly invents television, but instead produces and inspires a daughter (Lulu). Twenty-five years later Lulu writes her mother's story and fights the system to get the truth, not to confused with the facts, on the air. The story breezes through a lot of history: some early stirrings of women's liberation; the invention of television and it's anticipated impact on mankind - until TV's potential is fully realized as the perfect medium for the sale of soap; the blacklist; the Automat; and, with assistance from a projected backdrop, the real original Ray's Pizza. OK, the Automat and Ray's Pizza weren't all that central to the plot, but I was hungry. Through it all, Mother Ruby, daughter Lulu and some occasionally weak willed accomplices fight with persistent vision to overcome mankind's flaws, in a theme the script drives home a little too persistently at times. Fortunately, the believable characters, entertaining story and some advice on doing what you can realistically do from a drunken old character actress overcome any hint of preachiness.

The real joy here is the uniformly high quality of cast, direction and production. There are no weak links. Jenelle Sosa, as Ruby (Theater Project regulars will remember her extraordinary performance in Fully Committed), Jen Plants, as Lulu, and Rick Delaney, as Tad (veteran television writer who becomes the vehicle for Lulu's story, her lover and finally her coauthor) deserve special mention for outstanding performances in demanding roles - what the heck, so do Norleen Farley, who captured both the bitter old aunt and the alcoholic character actress to a T and Jaclyn Ingoglia who nailed the difficult task of playing a bad actress just badly enough so it was funny real, not funny farce.

Just two shows left, Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009. See it at Union County College, Cranford, NJ. Brown Paper Tickets or 800 838 3006

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