Life in tiny Mine Hill, New Jersey, can be so dull, so stifling.
Kathleen Clark’s “Let’s Live a Little,” Invisible Theatre’s current offering, takes us through a year of life in this small town and it shows us you don’t need a lot of people to see and places to go to give a place a vibrancy. You just need people with a lot heart.
And the characters in Clark’s play have that.
“Let’s Live a Little” was stitched together from a dozen one-acts Clark had written over the years. The playwright worked with Susan Claassen, the director of the play and Invisible Theatre’s managing artistic director, and created a piece that is reminiscent of “Empire Falls” in the way it zeroes in on individual lives that make the town a whole.
Though she can get a tad sentimental at times, Clark is a wiz at dialogue. She knows how to give her characters lines that breathe with a rhythm and an honesty.
And those lines were delivered by a dozen solid actors.
Among them is Molly McKasson, who plays a slightly doty woman whose life takes on unexpected adventures when she buys a pair of new glasses with big frames that look as though fashion icon Iris Apfel picked them out — they kind of scream “don’t expect the ordinary from me.” The energy explodes when McKasson is on stage. Kathleen Erickson is elegant and honest in her portrayal of a creative writing teacher who becomes re-inspired by a small group of new students. And Jack Neubeck’s performance as an aging florist who loves the Fourth of July and this town he has spent his whole life in is deeply rooted and believable.
The play is a bit like life: You sometimes see the strain in trying to pull the various stories together into one piece, a few of the vignettes fell flat, and there were too many loose ends.
But the faults in “Let’s Live A Little” never overwhelm….