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Annex presents Emerald, a fun present-day myth
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Annex presents Emerald, a fun present-day myth

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Emerald and the Love Song
of the Dead Fishermen
Annex Theatre
Through August 29


In this new play by Brendan Healy, now playing at the Annex Theatre, a mystical girl is born with green hair on the day her fisherman father drowns at sea. She grows up hearing stories about him spurring a longing in her to see him. She (Emerald, played by Wonder Russell) hears a sea story about how every 25 years, dead fishermen rise out of their watery graves and inhabit an island no one has ever seen. She is determined to find the island and meet her father, as she is now almost 25 years old and a barista.

Brendan Healy, a local writer, has written an elegant myth with a very nice feel to it. There's a nice dose of modern humor with the miming of barista activity at a mythical chain where Emerald works. A subplot involving all the rules baristas are supposed to follow by corporate edict is fun for a while, but is carried out too far into the evening. It's a two-hour, two-act play that could be tightened a bit, but the corporate meanies are part of the fun. It strains credulity, even in a myth, when they go after Emerald and her boss for a stolen apron and a scone.

Costumes are uncredited, but there are nice moldy touches around the dead fishermen. The set, by Pip Gordon (who also designed lights to great effect), uses wooden boxes that move around the set. That keeps it modular, but very distracting with many short scenes that require box rearrangement. However, the mythical tree in the background centers the action. Sean Patrick Taylor composes some great sea shanty songs and creates a laugh by coming out with an accordion. Sann Hall lends a lovely voice to several shanties and other songs.

Wonder Russell keeps a very compassionate and patient demeanor around Emerald's agoraphobic mother (Sann Hall) and her confused, dead father (BJ Petersen). She accepts their limitations and works within them. It's one of the best parts of the evening. Russell's character is accepting of everyone, without complaint or blame. She has no anger toward anyone, even when she is working hard as a barista while everyone else tries to do as little as possible.

There is enough fun to keep a smile on your face, and enough myth to transcend the simple story and the silly coffee antics. We all know how it turns out, but we tell the same stories all the time, knowing the ending. For more information, go to ponyworld.org or www.brownpapertickets.com or call 206-728-0933.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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