The FSU/Asolo Conservatory's Three Postcards sets a reflective mood.
By Kay Kipling
There’s a wistful quality to the Craig Lucas-Craig Carnelia musical Three Postcards, now onstage at the Historic Asolo Theater in an FSU/Asolo Conservatory production, that somehow strikes just the right note—or at least it did for me on opening night.
The setup of this slight, 90-minute-long show is a familiar enough one: Three old friends, women in their 30s, get together for dinner at a chic Manhattan restaurant to catch up and reminisce over old times. In doing so, they find laughs, tears and maybe a reaffirmation of the reasons they’ve remained friends over the years despite their differences and some separations.
In many hands, this would be a pleasant but perfectly forgettable outing. But Lucas (who’s coming to town next week to accept the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s inaugural Greenfield Prize) and Carnelia, plus the talented Conservatory cast, manage to make it feel more than the sum of its parts.
Ghafir Akbar, Bethany Weise, Hannah Goalstone and Alexandra Guyker in Three Postcards.
For one thing, there are the women themselves, who are quickly but pretty clearly defined by the actresses playing them. There’s Big Jane (Bethany Weise), an overeager, unsuccessful poet/cum/phone salesperson who wants to be liked by everyone including the women’s waiter (nicely played by Ghafir Akbar, charming as the waiter and also effectively doubling in roles ranging from a verbally abusive husband to a kindergarten teacher to a therapist). There’s Little Jane (Alexandra Guyker), bossy and assertive, whose problems include the aforementioned husband, a child who bites, and her own apparently endless years of analysis. And there’s KC (Hannah Goalstone), the seemingly altogether one, who’s determined not to break down about the recent loss of her mother.
Over the course of the evening the three go back and forth in time, aided by Walter the waiter, pianist Randy Spaulding and songs and scenes ranging from early classroom days to the teen years (when the three absolutely capture the excitement of making girl group harmonies together on See How the Sun Shines, a song that recurs later on in the show) to the (inevitable) disappointments of grown-up life. There’s nothing especially new or deep here, but Three Postcards has a mood and aura all its own, and it’s a pleasure to watch these MFA students spread their wings a bit in a musical (a fairly uncommon choice for the Conservatory to present).
Three Postcards continues through May 3 at the Historic Asolo; for tickets call 351-8000 or go to asolo.org.