Monday, September 29, 2014

‘Three Viewings’ makes my Top Ten favorite play list

Julia Hager, Ruth Martelli, Steve Reazor and director Lisa Uliasz pose for a photo after the show.
By Cheryl Thornburg

I was curious and intrigued as I headed to Feeney Funeral home in Reading for my most unusual theater experience ever. I had never heard of Jeffrey Hatcher's “Three Viewings” and only knew what I had read in in a press release from Reading Community Players.  It involved three monologues in which someone is dealing with a corpse.  I expected to be amused, or pleasantly surprised by it, since I was familiar with all the actors in the play. But it was even better than that – I was blown away by witty dialogue, clever plots and memorable performances and it has moved into my Top Ten  favorite Plays.
Ruth Martelli delivered the performance of a lifetime. Her interpretation of Virginia Carpoletti, a sweet and naïve widow whose husband was a “wheeler and dealer” who left her nearly destitute, was so real that I almost forgot I was watching a play as I sat in the parlor of the funeral home. Hers was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen hundreds of plays.
Steve Reazor created a charming , love-sick funeral director who can never express his feelings to the object of his desire – a successful real estate agent who attends lots of funerals and seems to end up making commissions as a result. Reazor has impeccable timing and an engaging comedic style that seems to come naturally to him.
The third monologue features Julia Hager as one of the more unique characters I’ve come across in my theater-going days.  She plays a beautiful drifter from Los Angeles who makes her living stealing jewelry from corpses.  Hager is a talented comedic actress but also can add layers to what could have been a cookie-cutter character.
Director, Lisa Uliasz picked the perfect cast to bring these delightful characters to life.
There couldn’t have been a better place to stage this production than  Feeney Funeral Home in  Reading and as a bonus, guests could tour the mansion after the show.
Unfortunately “Three Viewings” ran for just one weekend, so at the moment, there’s no opportunity to see it – but – Martelli said if someone has a facility that could be used as a venue, they’d love to resurrect it.
For more information on Reading Community Players, visit the website at


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