A ROCK OPERA
by Penelope Corrin
316 W. 5th Av.
September 29-October 8
Penelope Corrin is a young actress whom we’ve mostly seen
doing improv comedy over the past couple of years. With Plugged,
she’s created a vehicle for herself, a solo rock-opera that
showcases her acting chops, singing range and writing ability. With
the help of talents John Murphy (director) and Corinne Kessel (musical
director) plus a three-piece onstage band, Corrin reveals herself
as someone definitely to be watched.
On the Beaumont Studio’s tiny bare stage, Corrin plays out
a three-character family drama. She’s Anna and also
Anna’s aged grandmother in the latter stages of dementia.
Grandmother mumbles barely comprehensible nonsense, punctuated
by phrases that sound ominously condemning: “You evil eye. Obey
God.” Corrin also plays Anna’s sketchily developed
father, a cold, distant figure who barely has time for either woman.
Corrin’s acting is most impressive in the role of grandmother,
quietly navigating the twisted corridors of her own mind in an
impeccable British accent. Anna is tormented by the transformation
and apparent disappearance of the grandmother she knew and loved. She
becomes convinced that a demon has possessed grandmother’s
mind, and Anna becomes possessed by that same demon.
Wrestling with the demon, flung around the stage, Corrin-as-Anna
reveals a powerful hard-rock voice. The lyrics are often
obscured by the volume of the music and a less than ideal sound
system but the gist comes through clearly enough. And the
resolution of the mystery of the grandmother’s speaking in
demonic tongues is nicely accomplished.
At just under an hour, with all the action mimed (what the father
is doing, exactly, is never clear), Plugged feels
like a workshop for a fuller, more polished production. But
it’s an effective calling card for talented Penelope Corrin.