Volume 91, Issue 96

Tuesday, March 31, 1998



Simon's women come to life

By Jill Sutherley
Gazette Staff

The main reason why people attend a Neil Simon play is for the laughter that invariably comes with the experience.

At the Huron Underground Dramatic Society's outstanding presentation of Jake's Women, there was rarely a time when appreciative chuckles did not fill the intimate amphitheatre.

Neil Simon has established himself as one of the most prolific and beloved playwrights of all time. Audiences have come to love the way in which they may leave their troubles at the door, enjoy a barrel of laughs and a unique story-line all rolled into one for about two hours.

Jake's Women revolves around a writer named Jake, played by Western student Jamie Frawley, who is constantly conjuring up his past relationships with the women in his life. As a writer, Jake enjoys the pleasure of having complete control of his characters' destinies and detests the helplessness he experiences in real-life situations when he finds himself at the mercy of others.

To resolve this problem, Jake calls certain women into his mind and they play the roles he has made for them – almost.

Each character has her own rebellious spurts which even Jake has trouble trying to harness. Frequent imaginary conversations take place with his acid-tongued sister Karen, his off-the-wall therapist Edith, his angelic previous wife Julie and his precious daughter Molly.

Though these often hilarious conversations take place inside Jake's head, the four women are visable to the audience and are played brilliantly by Huron College students. Unfortunately for Jake, his current wife Maggie, with whom he is separated but still in love with, is the one he can not call back with his wondrous black magic.

The Huron Underground Dramatic Society prides itself in "presenting theatre on a limited budget," says co-producer of the show Jef Clarke, adding, "creative people make-up for lack of funds."

The play's director, Megan McCallum is one of those creative people who had a lot to do with the production's overall success. After many hours of rehearsals and hard work, her directorial debut project is visibly polished to perfection.

The scene that stands out in the play occurs near the end, when Jake realizes he can't conjure any of his women to come back.

It's chilling to see Jake standing alone on the stage, calling their names and having no one appear. When Jake admits to the audience, "I feel empty," one sympathizes with him and remembers his phrase from the beginning of the play, "reality is a bummer," knowing that we too have felt the same way.

The two hours in which Jake attempts to internally juggle four feisty women, while at the same time trying to deal with his real-life situations, add up to two interesting hours of fun and make Jake's Women an absolute people-pleaser.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998