Kirsten Greenidge’s SPLENDOR (@ Company One through Nov. 16th) unwraps in circles like an unwinding top, so that the townsfolk we meet at the outset come back and overlap with new people, all of whom add to the integral shape of a wobbly Massachusetts town. Greenidge’s Bellington, like Grovers Corners, becomes an intrinsic part of her play: It can haunt characters like Greenidge’s heroine, Fran Giosa. It can trap people, like Fran’s school chum, Nicole. It can even, as one character says, “hold a grudge.”
Director Shawn Lacount uses the playing space at the BCA to surround us in a sweep of stolen moments played behind the audience. We see snatches of connections across from us—or if we crane our necks, behind us—perhaps a kiss, a song, a hesitation—caught by a searchlight scanning the perimeter of the town. It could be our town, with its all important Thanksgiving Day game and its unfortunate store closings and uptick in unemployment and poverty.
Shame and regret seem to dog everyone’s footsteps in Bellington. Fran (a lovely performance from Alexandria King) really doesn’t want to move back. She has painful memories she just can’t shake. She also has a mother (a bawdy, blowsy Becca Lewis) you wouldn’t want to claim. Greenidge creates colorful characters like Greg Maraio’s big hearted patriarch, father to Nicole Prefontaine’s outrageous Lisa (who gets the most delicious lines!)
Everyone has a story, from Obehi Janice’s exasperated ex-school counselor to James Milord’s angry absentee father of Fran and her brother (a vulnerable Danny Mourino)….from Molly Kimmerling’s disappointed housewife/mother to Michael Knowlton’s disillusioned ex-football star/husband who’s having an affair with Hannah Cranton’s sad Colleen. And there are even more secrets and affairs bubbling to the surface in Greenidge’s bird’s eye view of America!