Friday, May 3, 2013

It's none of your business

What would you do if you discovered a homeless woman living on your neighbor's porch? And what if that neighbor is a grouchy hermit who never comes outside or lets anyone in? And what if you discover that neighbor is hiding another woman with horrible scars all over her face?

It's starting to sound like one of those spooky Gothic mysteries by one of the Bronte sisters. But it isn't. It's a new play, "Four Wounded Women," by Grand Rapids playwright Mike Smolinski (who as a sidelight happens to be homeless himself right now as one of the residents evacuated from the flooded Plaza Towers).

Stark Turn Players premiered the show Thursday night at Dog Story Theater. With a raised stage in the corner,  warm period furnishings and a strong, experienced cast, the 90-minute show seemed much more like traditional theater than some one-weekend experiment in a 50-seat black box.

In writing my review for The Press last night, I got so caught up in groping with the questions brought up by the play that I barely mentioned the fine performances. Mary Brown is especially good as the awkward, fearful and witty Helen, the homeless woman. But there are also fine performances by Sherryl Despres as the assertive Meryl with an underlying neediness that's just below the surface; Teri Kuhlman as the irascible Ruth, who also has her soft side; and Kim Zoller as the delicate but damaged Joy who turns out to be just as protective of Ruth.  Every actor does a fine job from Elizabeth Schaub as the snippy paper carrier to Patrick Bailey as the thundering husband and, of course, Frank VanPelt as Sam, the sane, steady--and sorta sexy -- delivery man who goes beyond the call of duty in his concern for his customer.

Which brings me back to those questions. What would you do? Should you step in, call the police? Would that help or hurt? Or is it none of your business?


  1. Thanks, Sue. I was so happy to see you in the opening night audience. (Of course, you know, I was watching you as much as I was watching the show -- trying to gauge your reactions!) I'm really glad you liked the show and found the themes intriguing.

  2. Sue, to answer your difficult questions, first some serious thought and then keen observation of the neighbors.

    Second, I would further investigate and try to find out as much as possible about the neighbors situation. Then pending the investigation, it would then determine my course of action i.e. call Social Services, the Police etc. Or, I would try to help them myself along with assistance from others.

    In any case, I would do whatever I could to help.


  3. Eerie ... considering the news out of Ohio this week.