Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 12, 2013

Stick Fly

The Majestic, West Springfield, MA
through December 15, 2013
by Shera Cohen

The folk at the Majestic Theater seem to have developed their 2013/14 season with emphasis on stronger subject matter than in the past. For example, “Stick Fly” presents racism, classism, and prejudice through the characters in the LeVay household. The LeVays are black and their summer home is Martha’s Vineyard. The color and setting literally and immediately set the stage for conflict. Yet, lots of humor takes the edge off the tough topics.

The LeVay brothers -- complete opposites in looks, goals, and lifestyles -- bring their girlfriends home to meet mom and dad. Kent’s gal is a well-educated, high-strung, preachy spitfire. She is black. Flip’s lady is a well-meaning, introspective negotiator. She is white. At its core, the play points fingers at fathers and their affects on their children of both sexes. Kent and Flip’s dad is very much in the picture of this dysfunctional family. But, neither color nor money clean up dysfunction.

Photo by Lee Chambers
There are no stars in “Stick Fly,” but an ensemble that holds well. Ashley Denise Robinson (Cheryl, the maid’s daughter) is the first to step on stage doing funky choreography to her headphone music. She hasn’t said a word. Her audience likes her. Seemingly a small role develops into the most important in the story. We really like Cheryl, her language, nuances, quips. We really like Robinson. The other actors in the sextet do their jobs -- some far better than others. Even though the play’s theme explores the importance of fathers, it is the girls who rule onstage.

“Stick Fly” will have to overcome a few problems to become an excellent production. First, the play is too long. This is not the director’s fault. However, some cuts within scenes is advised. Second, the set does not work. In fact, it works against the characters/actors. The audience sees a kitchen, living room, porch, and entries/exits. Okay, that’s a lot, but doable. But, the partition between rooms not only looks like a slab of drywall, but even worse, is so high that actors can only be seen from the torso up. Many important scenes occur in the kitchen. Because the stage area is so small, the actors block each other, and sometimes only their heads are seen. The play’s run just began. It’s not too late for some interior redecorating.

This play is recommended for adult audiences.