INOLA MCGUIRE @ THE MIDTOWN INTERNATIONAL THEATER FESTIVAL
Overlooking the Shadows
THE MIDTOWN INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, SPRING: 2016
At Jewel Box Theatre @ The Workshop, 312 West 36th Street, 4TH FL. New York, NY
March 7 – 27, 2016
On Monday, March 21, 2016
“Overlooking the Shadows” is written and directed by Renee McNeil; and starring Justine J. Hall and Sean Kane.
The audience sees a woman, Mrs. Turner, at her computer desk in front of her laptop as she reads from the screen. There is a knock at the door. She inquires and she looks outside through the window. She hesitates before she allows the stranger to enter. He wants to spend the night and she refuses his suggestion. Then, he organizes himself to leave and she tells him to stay.
She questions him and he tells her that he just found out about her husband’s death at the bar where both of them frequented in New York City. She offers him a drink! They continue to talk and he tells her about his ex-wife. Mrs. Turner wants to know more about what the stranger and her husband discussed. She offers the man crackers and nuts. He wants another drink and she obliges. She recalls that her husband had someone to confide in at the bar.
The stranger reminds Mrs. Turner that she’s alone; and she reiterates that she’s not alone. She tells the stranger how much her husband’s body was ravaged by his disease. The stranger tries to find out more about the time when she was the caregiver of her husband’s care during his final days. The audience witnesses how Mrs. Turner unburdens herself to the stranger. He praises her for her devotion to her husband, and she lets him know how good a provider her husband had been to her before he died.
As the play progresses, the audience takes in the interaction between Mrs. Turner and the stranger. She shares with the stranger that her husband was her soul mate. His response to her contradicts her statement about her husband. He says to her that his soul mate had betrayed him and she kept secrets from him, too. He reiterates to her even how he shared his weaknesses and his fears with his ex-wife.
Mrs. Turner talks about her experience in her husband’s class as his student; and she hints to him that her classmates used to try to get his attention. She informs the stranger that she wrote a short story and she had to meet with him to discuss her work, and he said to her that the other girls were always asking him questions. The audience hears her comment to the stranger. She states that she reminded her future husband that her classmates liked him. Mrs. Turner continues to unburden her soul to the stranger about her husband. She claims that after her statement to him, he took her glasses off of her face, and he told her that she had beautiful eyes.
The audience sees when Mrs. Turner gives the man clothes to sleep in. Next day, he prepares breakfast and he volunteers to fetch fire wood for her convenience. Mrs. Turner sits at her computer desk and she continues to work on her writing. She takes a drink before the stranger returns. She offers him a drink! He accepts the drink from her. Mrs. Turner shares with the stranger how good things were between her and her husband at one point in their marriage. She wants to find herself now. The stranger wants her to listen to music, and she reminisces about her life with her deceased husband. He asks her, “Do you want to dance?” She dances with him for a brief moment before she pulls away from him, and she turns off the music.
The stranger instructs Mrs. Turner to take a bath and he cooks for her. She becomes curious and she asks him why his marriage didn’t work. There is a lot to be said about the stranger’s life, and he tells Mrs. Turner how he used to be on the road selling heavy equipment. His wife didn’t like it. He talks about his experience as a construction worker and his other exploits such as gambling. At this point, Mrs. Turner and the audience want to know more about the stranger’s life; and she asks him directly if her husband had a gambling problem, too.
His response gives her pause, and she tells him how she lives on her husband’s money. The stranger continues to talk about his wife’s infidelity, and Mrs. Turner chimes in about her husband’s affairs with younger women. Her revelation was no news to the stranger! The stranger and Mrs. Turner bare their souls to each other, and they give in to temptation. The stranger wants to make her happy and he allows her to forget her pain momentarily. He wants her to overlook the shadows. This euphoria was short live for the stranger chooses to admit the real purpose of his visit after he takes a drink.
He and Mrs. Turner exchange pleasantries for a brief moment. The stranger begins to tell Mrs. Turner all about her husband’s shortcomings and how her husband wanted her dead. He confesses how Steven, Mrs. Turner’s husband, paid him to have her killed, but he couldn’t do it. Mrs. Turner becomes enraged and she orders him out of her home. She refuses to accept what her house guest had to say in its entirety. She throws him out immediately. She goes back to her computer and she resumes her writing. The whole experience with the confessing stranger surely boost her energy, her focus, and her inspiration as a writer. Now, she can complete her novel. Despite of the unsavory revelation by the stranger about her husband, Mrs. Turner gets a chance to make it on her own financially.
The writer’s message reaches the audience in a positive way for it allows the examination of what was seen on stage. It is not so easy to pick up and get out of a marriage, but in Mrs. Turner’s case, she has been given the opportunity to make a clean break. Her husband is dead and she is alive. She has the ability to turn things around in her favor. She does not have to rely on her husband’s finances for the rest of her life, she is capable to earn an income on her own with her talent as a writer.