To assist in his efforts to make Ardele come to her senses, the General has marshaled the family forces, which include Ardele’s vain and amoral younger sister, the Countess (Kathleen Garrett), her philosophical but ineffectual husband, Count (Michael Rothhaar), the Countess’ rigidly uptight lover, Villardieu (Robert Lee Jacobs), the General’s passionate but still-innocent grown son, Nicholas (David Rogge), Nicholas’ sister-in-law and former childhood love, Natalie (Shannon Fill), and the Countess’ young daughter, Marie-Christine (Jessie Clemens).
Rounding out the household are the bloodless maid, Ada (Cheryl Dooley), who matter-of-factly services the General’s still-ravenous sexual desires, and the screaming visage of the General’s wife, Emily (Sharron Shayne), who has been driven to insanity by her husband’s infidelities.
Among a generally excellent ensemble there are three performances that capture perfectly the aura of Anouilh’s soulless menagerie. Garrett’s Countess manages to be simultaneously comical and forlorn, keeping her lover always at hand while exuding jealousy and deep hurt at her husband’s minor trysts. As the less-than-satisfied swain Villardieu, Jacobs’ handsome visage looks out at the world like chiseled marble, reacting with hilarious indignation at his underused status. In her one scene, Shayne offers a harrowing but riveting soliloquy on Emily’s soul-ravaging awareness of all the lust her husband has spewed forth on others throughout their marriage.
The performances are wonderfully supported by the many-doored, upstairs/downstairs set design of Kurt Wahlner, the beautifully modulated lighting of Deena Lynn Mullen, the atmospheric sound design of Alexandra Enberg and the correct period costuming of Audrey Eisner.