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REVIEW: Paint Night at Playcrafters Barn Theatre

Playcrafters Barn Theatre

“Life, like art, rarely turns out exactly as planned;” so stated The Purple Rose Theatre’s program notes when it produced the very new work of playwright Carrie Crim, Paint Night.

Director Madelyn Dorta discovered this gem and has brought it to Playcrafters Barn Theatre. Aptly scheduled during Women’s History Month, this play, in addition to a female director and producer, has a cast of six women and addresses, as Dorta’s program notes state, “a celebration of friendship, truth and the beautiful messiness of life.”

I had the good fortune last week to host Dorta, along with Paint Night’s producer Alisha Hanes, on WVIK’s podcast Footlights during which she shared that this play is so new that Playcrafters is only the third venue to produce this show which explains why my Google search for background revealed why the first five results referred to Playcrafters production of the show.

 Program notes describe the story as five long-time friends who gather for a bachelorette paint-and-sip night at their local art studio. “As these friends gather…the paint and wine flow freely, but so do the secrets and tensions that have long been simmering beneath the surface. What unfolds is a journey of self-discovery and revelation as each character grapples with their inner demons and confronts the truths they’ve been avoiding.” I might add that those truths are very relevant and very contemporary and thoroughly relatable in these socially tumultuous times.

 Kathy Graham and Dorta have designed, an expertly constructed by Daniel Schaummann and crew, jaw-dropping set that perfectly captures the creative messiness of an art studio, quite literally “setting the stage” for the action. Further enhancing the arty atmosphere are the displays of artwork by local artists throughout the Barn.

The ensemble cast consists of some of the best talent the Quad Cities has to offer. Kathy Graham is Miriam, mother of the bride, Ashley Gomez as the free-spirited bride, Lolly, Ashley Hoskins as Fern, Miriam’s best friend, Bez McMullen, as Bree, Fern’s daughter, and the incomparable Emmalee Hilburn as the bon vivant art instructor, Vera. Please note that the role of Lolly will be performed by Amari Harris the second weekend of the show.

 I hesitate to share what the truth for each character is. It is far better that, like an onion, you peel back the layers of their lives yourself, as you do, you will take a cathartic roller coaster ride of emotions. I will share that motherhood in all its various challenges figure prominently.

Last, if you attend the Sunday performance, you will be treated to a post-production “talk back” session to process what you’ve just seen.

 Friends…take in Playcrafters show Paint Night. Even better, make it YOUR “girls night out.” Then stop somewhere for an adult beverage on your way home and hash out what you just saw.

 Paint Night continues at Playcrafters Barn Theatre, 4950 – 35th Avenue in Moline, Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m.