University Players take on Neil Simon’s Jake’s Women
The University Players’ 54th season premieres with Jake’s Women, written by Neil Simon and wonderfully directed by William Pinnell.
Welcome to writer Jake’s apartment.
Here, Jake (Bart Hoxha) tries to write his next big novel while his marriage simultaneously crumbles before his eyes. His problem? He lives in the moments he creates in his mind. Instead of saying, he thinks of what he should say. He lets his second marriage to Maggie (Karina Lynn Pawlowicz) falter because he lives in the moments in his mind: lying on the grass with his first wife (Katie Preston), talking to his psychologist (Amy Zehr); creating events that never could be.
The chemistry between the cast members is undeniably genuine. Bart Hoxha’s deliveries with his onstage sister (Brittany Kraus), his two wives, daughters (Mallory Morgan and Sarah Harwood), psychologist, and girlfriend (Morgan Johnson) are smooth and timely, allowing the comedy and tragedy to be perfectly presented at a laugh-cry pace.
The message of this play is simple. We all sometimes go to that place in our minds where we imagine a specific moment in our lives; we go back to talking to our late beloved, to just hold their hand and have a conversation at the park. Other times, we seem to want to change how a fight might have gone, or switch a wrongly voiced answer to another’s hopeful question.
Where do we draw the line? When do we stop dreaming and start doing? In a sense, Jake’s Women is about writer Neil Simon trying to tell us to move on, to close the past and to figure out the present. Jake goes in and out of his mind and loses touch with his life because he’s somewhere else, distancing himself from his everyday life.
The choice of this play, as the first of the 2012-2013 season, was exemplary. Students must face their present challenges and worry less about the distant past, as people in general must strive to do every day. This play speaks wonders for the human mind, reminding us to put to rest past guilt and faults.
With comedy interwoven amongst the contemplative heartbreak, this fabulous performance of Jake’s Women is a must-see, for the mind, soul and heart.