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 “FALLEN ANGELS”
Ends Theatre Works Season with laughter
By Iride Aparicio

Photos by: Kevin Berne

REBECCA DINES L and SARAH OVERMAN r whopping it up
REBECCA DINES L and SARAH OVERMAN whopping it up

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -  Under the direction of  Theatre Works Artistic Director, ROBERT KELLY, “FALLEN ANGELS,”  which is being presented at the Mountain View Center For The Performing Arts until June 28th,  is funnier than the original play.

The light comedy, which may be described as a “Comedy of Manners,” was written by English composer, lyricist, actor, intriguing controversial novelist and playwright NOËL COWARD, when he was 24 years old. As other of his plays, ANGELS  is a satire of romance that exposes the English society’s hypocrisy (at that time)  towards morality, and the role of women toward sex.

When the play was premiered, its subject, two upper class British women talking openly with each other  about their sexual inhibitions and affairs, prior to their marriages, on the stage, was shocking to the audience. For today’s standards, when drinking and smoking  is consider acceptable for women, and sex a common subject of conversation for even young girls,  “FALLEN ANGELS” may not have the same “impact” in the audience as it did when it was first presented in London at the Globe theatre (now called the Guielgud Theatre)  in  l925, but it still makes the audience laugh.

Because even when ANGELS is one of  COWARD’s early works, the play already demonstrates  his wit, flamboyance and personal style and his characters are hilarious. They are: Fred Sterroll, his wife Julia and their maid Sounders, and two of their friends: Willy Banbury and his wife Jane. And to play havoc on the couples marital bliss, Maurice.

MARK ANDERSON PHILLIPS and SARAH OBERMAN as the Sterrolls
MARK ANDERSON PHILLIPS and SARAH OBERMAN as the Sterrolls

The action opens in the Fall of l927 in the Dining-drawing room of the Sterrolls’ flat in London, with Fred ( MARK ANDERSON PHILLIPS)   getting ready to leave the house to go to play golf with his friend Willy (CASSIDY BROWN) as his wife Julia, (SARAH OVERMAN)  talks with him about another couple who are getting  a divorce and tells him that with him gone for the night, to avoid getting bored, she will probably go out with Jane (REBECCA DINES) for lunch and then to a movie matineeFred and Willey.

Willy (BROWN) arrives at the house, and the men (pictured left) leave on their trip. All alone, Julia sits at the piano and start playing the French love song  That  Maurice, (ALDO BILLINGSLEA) her former lover when she was still single, sang to her six years ago when they met in Pizza, Italy.  When Saunders (TORY ROSS) her maid, who is cleaning the breakfast table,  as she sings, hears her playing, she tells her that one of the notes ought to be a sharp not a natural. When Julia corrects the note, the melody sounds right. When she stares at her new maid surprised, Saunders informs her that the reason she knows music is that she was raised by nuns, who taught her to play the piano. During the play, we become aware that Saunders (ROSS) is well educated and be perfect in mixing drinks because she worked as bartender. She even  speaks French much better than her Mistress and her Mistress friend.

When Jane (DINES) arrives to Julia’s house with the news that Maurice Duclos, is in London as is coming to visit Julia this afternoon, starts the action. Six years ago, in Italy, Maurice had an affair with both friends when both were single. Apparently,  both still have strong feelings about him, so convinced that neither one of them can face him, their first plan is lo leave the house. But the truth is than both are still infatuated with Maurice, and both want to see him so at the end they decide to wait for him.

The body of the play is their waiting and their conjectures of what would happen when they see Maurice after all these years.  Will he still be handsome?  Will they still fill passionate at  his mere sight?  And worse yet, how will Maurice react when they tell him that both women are now married?
So the waiting begins, and because there is a storm, the waiting continues, for two acts. And as they wait,  for a phone call or the ringing of the door bell, both women starts talking about their marriages without passion, their affair with Maurice, and many other things. When it get late, both start eating dinner and drinking champagne, until both get drunk and jealous of each other start fighting.

Julia looks uneasy as Jane collapses when Maurice holds her hand    

Julia looks uneasy as Jane collapses when Maurice holds her hand

By the time Maurice finally arrives, to Julia’s house, many things have happened to the characters, and being drunk, to despite each other, each woman had revealed the affair with Maurice to the other woman’s husband.  The two husbands are appalled. It is a critical situation, but it gets a comical twist, with the French wit of Maurice.

The acting of all the actors playing the characters in this play, is realistic, difficult to do in a comedy, and the extra dialogue added to Saunders (ROSS) who in this version of the play, demonstrates to her mistress that she knows it all and knows it better, is very funny. FALLEN ANGELS was a good selection to end the season.

“FALLEN ANGELS” will play at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts until June 28. For tickets call 650-463-1950 or order them online at box office@theatreworks.org