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Mea’s Big Apology

In its 100 minutes, show knowingly reflects politics in a small office; draws a gentle love story; and creates some strong, if somewhat stereotyped, characters.

In its 100 minutes, show knowingly reflects politics in a small office; draws a gentle love story; and creates some strong, if somewhat stereotyped, characters.

Having each actor play two roles is more of a gimmick than a necessity, though the device does result in some nice work: Sherri Stoner as the world’s worst accountant (who’s also an aspiring poet) later shows up as an old woman who moves the plot along; Maggie Roswell is a prim senior accountant and the villainous head of Human Resources; David Sargent is both a fey muffin vendor and the show’s quite straight romantic interest. Andy Schell is a randy Xerox repairman and a female worker from another office (raising a collective gasp from the audience when he comes back in drag after they’ve seen him in male mufti), and Sweeney reappears late in the show in a quite different female role.

Of the five–or 10–Sweeney’s Mea is the standout character because of audience semi-familiarity and because she’s written as the center of the show. The rest, though, work equally hard, generally more impressive in one role than another. Stoner’s sweetly ditzy Robin is a special delight–the fullest character in the show other than Mea, and the one whose further adventures might be worth following.

Script is tight and pointed, with hardly a superfluous line or moment.Tech credits are good, if somewhat unambitious, and numerous costume changes are notably effective.

Mea’s Big Apology

(Groundling Theatre; 99 seats; $ 12 top)

  • Production: A Groundling Theatre presentation of a comedy in two acts by Stephen Hibbert and Julia Sweeney with Jim Emerson. Directed and produced by Stephen Hibbert. Sound, Jeff Lane.
  • Crew: Lights, Tom Reynolds; wardrobe and props, Marilyn DeLao. Opened, reviewed July 8, 1992.
  • Cast: Mea/Deborah ... Julia Sweeney Robin/Babs ... Sherri Stoner Eunice/Jill ... Maggie Roswell Jerry/Chris ... David Sargent Brian/Louella ... Andy Schell Revival of 1988 Groundlings hit with original cast intact should do even better with recent rise to "Saturday Night Live" fame of co-writer and star Julia Sweeney. Resemblance of titular Mea to Sweeney's androgynous SNL character Pat doesn't hurt a bit. Sweeney plays a drone in an insurance company's accounting department whose self-esteem is so low that she's constantly apologizing, even when not at fault. It should be pretty obvious that her full name (revealed in next paragraph) is a painfully reached-for joke. Fortunately, remainder of gags are on a more natural , character-driven level. The presence of the world's easiest audience on opening night contributed to the show's overall merriment; recognition of Sweeney resulted in laughs at every little movement. Group even seemed surprised when Mea's last name turned out to be ... Culpa.
  • Music By: