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The Devil's Wife Review - Searching for Your Heart's Desire

By Elaine L. Mura

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Award-winning playwright Tom Jacobson has blended old wives’ tales and full-blown fantasy in this Gothic fable of epic proportions. Glancing at the title, the first questions which might spring to mind: Is the devil real or simply a myth to scare kids and sinners? If there really is a devil, would he marry? Or, for that matter, is he really a he? And where is God in all of this? Jacobson looks at these questions and much more in this rollicking black comedy that includes some serious underpinnings.

Mariel Neto and Everette Wallin - Photo by Ed Krieger

The Ramirez patriarch has just died, leaving behind thousands of useless acres of dusty, waterless, and locust-infested land which is probably going to flood soon with the current torrential rains - and three broke daughters. It’s the middle of the nineteenth century, and options are severely limited for the unfortunate ladies. When Nicolas Mastema (Everette Wallin), a handsome and prosperous attorney, enters their home, his legal advice becomes very personal as he proposes a solution to their troubles. Is Bonita, the eldest of the sisters, ready to tie the knot in exchange for a third of the acreage? She’s gorgeous and as pure as the driven snow – perhaps a little too pure? What to do if Bonita fails? Can the contract be renegotiated with the other sisters? Nicholas does what he must to protect the lovely ladies even as questions of faith and trust arise.

Alana Dietze, Mariel Neto, and Caro Zeller - Photo courtesy of Skylight Theatre

The middle sister, Dulce (Alana Dietze), notably sweet as honey and no shrinking violet, may not be able to satisfy the marriage contract either. It seems that she has run away; and, not one to wait on any woman, Nicholas divorces Dulce and proposes to the youngest Ramirez sister, Sofia (Caro Zeller). She’s the clever, forward thinking member of the sisterhood. Thus far, marrying Nicholas doesn’t seem to have worked out well for the Ramirez clan. Despite her reservations, Sofia accepts Nicholas’ proposal. What happens next? You’ll have to see THE DEVIL’S WIFE to find out.

Alana Dietz, Mariel Neto, and Caro Zeller - Photo by Ed Krieger

THE DEVIL’S WIFE is a clever, amusing fable which straddles reality and fantasy with just a hint of the supernatural. Even though the characters in the play are one-dimensional, the cast does a good job of showing the audience their comedic sides. Director Eric Hoff has his job cut out – and ultimately focuses on the empowerment of women. THE DEVIL’S WIFE also explores historic and contemporary views of religion, as well as questioning what makes a relationship work.

Everette Wallin and Mariel Neto - Photo courtesy of Skylight Theatre

Stephanie Kerley-Schwartz’s set design is simple, yet effective. The dim and smoky ambiance suits this phantasmagoric tale. Jeff McLaughlin’s lighting, Christopher Moscatiello’s sound, and Sarah Figoten Wilson’s costumes add breadth to the staging. Special kudos go to fight choreographer Mike Mahaffey, for the effective knockdown drag-out moments. Despite its fairytale-like basic theme, author Jacobson surprises with some pretty deep topics which pop up from time to time. This show will tease the audience into considering some ideas which aren’t obvious at first glance. Audience Alert: Get ready to chuckle – and ponder.

Everette Wallin, Alana Dietze, Mariel Neto, and Caro Zeller - Photo by Ed Krieger

THE DEVIL’S WIFE runs through August 27, 2017, with performances at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays (except July 29). It runs in rep with “The Lost Child” by Jennifer W. Rowland, opening at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2017. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 ½ N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Tickets range from $15 to $39. For information and reservations, call 213-761-6061 or go online.

Published on Jul 17, 2017

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