Beth – Lauren Campedelli
Cindy – Shannon Holt
James – Stephen Caffrey
George W. Bush – Don Oscar Smith
Director – Bart DeLorenzo
Scenic and Lighting Designer – Alain Jourdenais
Costume Designer – Ann Closs-Farley
Sound Design – John Zalewski
Stage Manager – Alain Jourdenais
Assistant Stage Manager – Beth Mack
Producer – Kirk Wilson
August 14 – September 11, 2004
Los Angeles Times
The time is 2000, circa the presidential election debacle. In a New York airport lounge, two duplicitous women trade stats on their latest married boyfriends. Beth is obsessed with a London-based magician, while Cindy feels certain that an impending child will snag her wealthy Texan.
Meanwhile, a future Supreme Court-appointed president materializes, spouting off about uncertain certainties and putting food on one’s family. So spins the doublespeak of Homewrecker at the Evidence Room. Kelly Stuart’s dark satire examines infidelity and the legacy of George W. Bush with a sting that suggests Nora Ephron rewriting Al Franken on battery acid.
Under Bart DeLorenzo’s impish direction, a fierce cast delivers Stuart’s curdled wit with wicked elan. Lauren Campedelli’s Beth and Shannon Holt’s Cindy operate in expert lock-step. Holt provides a hysterical gallery of tics and gestures, and the bone-dry Campedelli remains a local treasure. Their climactic face-off might shock John Waters, and the Valium-flavored fade-out approaches Christopher Durang.
Don Oscar Smith, whose Impressionist take on Bush finds the id in idiotic, is a hoot. Stephen Caffrey limns his pivotal Brit with a mince that recalls Dan Aykroyd as Leonard Pinth-Garnell.
Alain Jourdenais’ raw lighting and raked set with Francis Bacon-inspired sliding backdrop are effective. Ann Closs-Farley’s costumes make instant character statements, and John Zalewski’s sound has typical aplomb.
However, Stuart's argument lacks cohesion; the tie-ins between sexual and political betrayal are blurry, even oblique. Taken on its topical value, though, Homewrecker is nasty fun. Audiences dreading the Republican National Convention should find comfort in its savagery.
– David C. Nichols
Kelly Stuart’s slash-and-burn satire Homewrecker -- a world premiere at the Evidence Room – is nasty, raunchy, X-rated great fun.
All starts in an airport lounge in 2000 where two "other women" sit and trade stories about their latest married boyfriends. Beth (Lauren Campedelli) is obsessed with a London-based magician, and Cindy (Shannon Holt) feels certain that her impending child will win over her Texan boyfriend.
As they speak, a fictional figure of George W. Bush materializes, spouting all sorts of doublespeak (the words are actual and on-the-record) as he campaigns through America in an election year.
Ultimately, Homewrecker is about lying. Beth and Cindy lie to their families, their lovers, each other and to themselves. As for the greater political lie, it’s all in the words of the candidate. So goes the duplicitous world in which we live – according to writer Stuart.
Credit Bart DeLorenzo with the savvy direction and an expert cast that manages to savor every word of Stuart’s acidic script. Campedelli and Holt work wonderfully well together; Holt is full of gestures and tics, while the straight-on Campedelli is a delight. Their climatic face-off is funny and shocking as they wind up devouring gobs of Valium while watching the election results on TV.
Stephen Caffrey is first-rate as the disheveled and dissolute magician James, a likable sort of English sexual predator, while Don Oscar Smith is a hoot as Bush. Alain Jourdenais’ stark lighting and almost bare stage are effective, and Ann Closs-Farley’s costumes work well with the onstage characters.
One only wishes that writer Stuart had put more thought into the relationship to our world of lies, both on a personal and political level. This calls for further exploration and development. Still, in 70 savage minutes without an intermission, Homewrecker manages to create a world that is wacky and even a bit wise. And totally our own. – Ed Kaufman
Through a series of conversations and confrontations, Kelly Stuart’s despondent new comedy chronicles the emotional dynamics of two women friends, Cindy and Beth (Shannon Holt and Lauren Campedelli) – one blond, one brunette, and each having affairs with married men. These are liaisons on which the women pin all manner of hopes for domestic tranquility – their own impregnations, abortions and families notwithstanding. Stuart sets her play about liars during the election dispute of November 2000. Throughout the action, George W. Bush (Don Oscar Smith) makes a series of what could be called speechlets, built on his mangled vocabulary and abuse of reason that we’ve come to know so well. Bush is, in fact, one more figment of Beth’s living nightmare – the uber-liar. However, W.’s logic is no more warped or deluded than that of the women or of their suitor, a smarmy magician named James (Stephen Caffrey) – a self-absorbed English cad who speaks in ontological loops. Yet the very existence of Bush on the stage promises a political dynamic that simply isn’t in the play. Attaching marital infidelities to the lies of a U.S. president who ostensibly represents family values is a cynically provocative and poetical association, though Clinton could step in with equal success. Almost any politician could. Which makes Stuart’s political canvas a bit of a whitewash posing as an idea – or, to borrow from Alain Jourdenais’ striking minimalist set – a redwash (representing the bloodied intestines that haunt Beth’s imagination). Though Stuart may be straining to link the political to the personal, she more than compensates with funny, tart writing and her groveling characters’ luminous contradictions. Bart DeLorenzo’s staging is every bit as concise and illustrative as the acting. Holt’s animated, big-wigged Cindy twitters with the pathos of a broken-winged sparrow. In contrast, Campedelli offers a staid and sometimes ferocious intelligence, particularly in her stunned reactions as she learns that she’s one in a long line of James’ mistresses. Smith’s impersonation of Bush is so delicate and true, its effect borders on enchantment. – Steven Leigh Morris