Bright Star Play Review
The dandelions swayed in the gentle breeze as the audience soaked up the remainder of the waning sunshine, sprawled out among their distanced blankets politely murmuring amongst themselves. Needless to say, the audience’s wishes were fulfilled that idyllic evening by Sarofim Theater’s amazing performance. Perched atop a hill, I sat devouring a double cheeseburger all the while eating up every second of the complex plot unfolding before me. Bright Star by Steve Martin chronicalizes the journey of Alice Murphy, a girl who fell pregnant at the tender age of 16. Alice was knocked up by the Mayor’s son Billie, and was forced to give up her child to avoid tarnishing the distinguished family’s reputation.
The braided narrative rotated between Alice, a free spirited youngin’ in the Blue Ridge Mountains to her life 22 years later– as a well off magazine editor of the Asheville Southern Journal. Through the investigation of her past horrors and present reality, the identity of her long lost son gradually becomes apparent. Alice finds herself having a special connection to a bright writer on the staff of her newspaper in her later life, and it is revealed that this boy is her son. This is the absolute precipice of the plot, as the audience had been led to believe that the “illegitimate” child had been murdered, instead of being put up for adoption. The suspenseful tale contained many quotable lines by supporting cast members which serve to be the focus of this article.
Lucy Grant, played by Faith Madsen, strutted her stuff unapologetically– her hilariously alluring physicality aroused an elated roar from the crowd. Lucy quotably stated:
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to feel good all the time. Pour me another round!”
I wondered if Faith was channeling her true wild self, or if Lucy’s life philosophy greatly differed from her own. This prompted me to ask the actress her take on this free spirited mindset. Faith, do you too live life with this bohemian mentality?
“I would say Lucy and I share some qualities but she certainly is a bit more wild than myself. I love to have a good time but Lucy takes it to the next level! She rocks the bar and is the buzz of the social scene: dipping, twirling, drinking, and seducing is the name of her game. She was so fun to play, and I’m honored to have brought my take to her character!”
The love ballot to liquor was by far the most lighthearted of all songs included in the musical, most of which poked large holes in the traditional notion of family. Through this play the very concept of illegitimate children was theatrically abolished. Adam Krawl played the murderous Mayor, who attempted to kill his “bastard” grandchild for the sake of preserving his family name. The mayor defended his malicious actions by singing:
“A man must protect his family.”
After hearing this proclamation, I wondered what Adam’s take was on this principle of manhood. Not specifically as it pertained to infanticide, but to paternal roles as a whole. Do you agree that men must protect their families? (The following has been edited for clarity.)
“That’s definitely not an end all be all statement. There are a lot of damaging ways a person can take that idea to the extreme if they solely follow that expression and are unwilling to compromise. In fact, sometimes if all you follow is that principle and set aside your morals– you risk inflicting more harm on your family than good.”
Bright Star accurately defined the true meaning of family: Regardless of how fractured a family structure is, your people are still your people.