"Even Emmerson’s stolid Leo engages the audience; we can’t help but be affected as we watch him begin to realize that his life may not go as planned."
Love, loss, dreams and responsibility haunt the characters in Ann Noble’s “And Neither Have I Wings To Fly,” playing through Dec. 8 at Scripps Ranch Theatre.
Set in rural Ireland in the 1950s, the Donnelly and Doyle families are a week from a merger: Kathleen Donnelly (Katee Drysdale) is set to marry Leo Doyle (Hayden Emmerson). As preparation, Katie’s dad Peter (Walter Ruskin) offers Leo a job, which he readily accepts.
Katie is young, impressionable and ready for some excitement. Leo is madly in love with her, but he’s a bit stolid for her taste, and though she says she loves him, it seems more wish than fact. So it’s not surprising when her head is turned by the exciting and spontaneous actor Freddy Malone (Zackary Bonin), in town to play Hamlet at a local theater. Freddy returns the compliment.
Katie and her sister Eveline (Kate Rose Reynolds) have just lost their mother Moira, and Eveline has taken over mom’s job of taking care of the family and most especially dad Peter. It’s Eveline who does most of the cooking and cleaning.
But mom isn’t gone just yet. She returns in ghostly form (Sara Jane Nash) to watch over the family, and won’t leave until their lives are settled to her satisfaction. But only Evvy can see her.
When Evvy meets Leo’s brother Charlie (Paul Eddy), a drifter to whom settling down has never been attractive, she’s drawn to his free-wheeling spirit. But dare she throw responsibility to the wind and leave Da, for Charlie or the university?
Eveline’s real love is books and reading. She wants to go to the university in Dublin, and has secretly applied for (and received) a scholarship, which she has not disclosed to her father. But the deadline is a few days away, and she must make life-changing decisions.
It’s easy to identify with both Drysdale and Reynolds, whose engaging portrayals of the Donnelly sisters reflect the common push-pull between the excitement of dreams and the grounding influence of responsibility.
Even Emmerson’s stolid Leo engages the audience; we can’t help but be affected as we watch him begin to realize that his life may not go as planned.
Director Jacquelyn Ritz keeps all the balls in the air with great dexterity and this fine cast does the rest.
Alyssa Kane’s fine homey-looking stage-wide set includes a door leading out through an unseen corridor, a kitchen door, a dining room with table and chairs, a living room with Da’s big chair, a fireplace and mantel, and stairs leading up to the upstairs bedrooms. Oh yes, and bookcases with oodles of books.
Dawn Fuller-Korinek’s costumes set time and place well. Lighting and sound are nicely handled by Chloe Oliana M Clark and Ted Leib.
Noble’s script is set in Ireland, but its themes are universal and wonderfully presented here.
“And Neither Have I Wings to Fly” plays through December 8, 2019, at Alliant International University’s Legler Benbough Theatre, 9783 Avenue of Nations, off Pomerado Road in Scripps Ranch.
Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm.
Tickets: (858) 578-7728 or www.scrippsranchtheatre.org