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Moving

Peter Ellenstein's directorial point of view is nowhere to be found. And if he has a concept to illuminate the development of the lives and the relationship of these women he has kept it a secret from the actresses on stage. Kalcheim's text is given no assistance from the tentative, insecure performances of Elizabeth Karr and Vanessa Easton.

With:
Cast: Elizabeth Karr (Diana), Vanessa Easton (Megan). Emmy-winning TV writer Lee Kalcheim, whose credits include "All in the Family" and "Something Wilder" (which he created and exec produced), has returned to his stage roots in this coming-of-age comedy about two female friends who are chronicled at three stages in their journey toward maturity and self-reliance. Despite a 12-year time span, they don't travel very far. Kalcheim has provided a cross-section of a friendship between a pair of women whose acquired revelations and insights are not that revealing or insightful.

Peter Ellenstein’s directorial point of view is nowhere to be found. And if he has a concept to illuminate the development of the lives and the relationship of these women he has kept it a secret from the actresses on stage. Kalcheim’s text is given no assistance from the tentative, insecure performances of Elizabeth Karr and Vanessa Easton.

Covering the period 1970-82, each act finds one of the two women moving into a new Manhattan abode with the assistance of the other. In act one, the thoroughly organized and disciplined WASP Diana (Karr), recently out of college, moves into a dingy, Upper West Side one-room walk-up, determined to find work as an anthropologist.

Her streetwise Jewish/Irish girlfriend Megan (Easton), a novelist wannabe who has more success manipulating men than the written word, tries to be the voice of occupational reason but has problems of her own: She is breaking up with her boyfriend and is about to have an abortion.

Act two shifts forward to 1976 and features a recently divorced Megan moving into a loft in a converted Soho warehouse. Diana has beaten the odds and is actually working with Margaret Mead. She also has a man of her own, who she feels pays much too much attention to Megan. Once the two have rambled through a bit of cathartic recrimination and reconciliation, they go about utilizing Megan’s packing boxes to construct their individual ideal man. Megan’s man has equal parts brains, heart and genitalia. Diana’s has no genitalia at all.

In the final act, college professor Diana is moving into a four-room brownstone in Greenwich Village and trying to decide whether to invite her lover Sibyl to move in. Megan, who is totally comfortable with her best friend’s latent lesbian awakening, has more troubles: She is pregnant again and, for the first time in her life, doesn’t have a boyfriend.

For all the time they spend talking and unpacking, Easton and Karr communicate with the uncomfortable carefulness of two people who really don’t know each other very well, rather than lifelong friends who should be able to read each other’s thoughts. As Diana, Karr exudes the proper upper-middle-class patrician air but is constantly projecting her lines rather than simply conversing with the only other person on stage with her.

Faring better is Easton as the sensually confident Megan, who has sublimated her aesthetic goals under a constant stream of hopeless relationships. Easton actually seems to be listening to her fellow actor before delivering her lines, but can’t transcend the material.

Moving

Production: Moving (Hollywood Court Theatre; 75 seats; $ 12 top) Cedarburg Prods. presents a play in three acts by Lee Kalcheim. Directed by Peter Ellenstein. Set , Kevin Monk.

Crew: Lighting, Richard Moore; sound, Parker Young. Opened July 26, 1996 ; reviewed July 28; runs through Aug. 18. Running time: 2 hours, 20 min.

With: Cast: Elizabeth Karr (Diana), Vanessa Easton (Megan). Emmy-winning TV writer Lee Kalcheim, whose credits include "All in the Family" and "Something Wilder" (which he created and exec produced), has returned to his stage roots in this coming-of-age comedy about two female friends who are chronicled at three stages in their journey toward maturity and self-reliance. Despite a 12-year time span, they don't travel very far. Kalcheim has provided a cross-section of a friendship between a pair of women whose acquired revelations and insights are not that revealing or insightful.

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