Eliza Ventura, Meghan Duffy and Colleen Zenk in
Marrying George Clooney
(© Matthew Murphy)
Eliza Ventura, Meghan Duffy and Colleen Zenk in
Marrying George Clooney
(© Matthew Murphy)
Mothers' legacies to their daughters and the ways in which those offspring simultaneously internalize and break free of their inheritances are at the core of the meandering theatrical collage, Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From a Midlife Crisis, now at CAP21.

The script -- by Amy Ferris, Ken Ferris and Krista Lyons -- splinters its central narrative between three women (played by Eliza Ventura, Meghan Duffy, and Colleen Zenk). The actresses sometimes portray different aspects of one central character, a woman who's mid-menopause and coping with her elderly mother's progressive dementia, while sometimes, they become other individualized characters, whose experiences, histories and world views both mirror and comment upon the piece's central story.

Unfortunately, nothing in the production, which has been sluggishly staged by Frank Ventura, ever assists audiences in navigating the shifts the text takes. And it's often not until the actresses are well into one of their stories, which cover everything from the emotional and physical tribulations of "the change" to painful childhood memories to reveries about the male celebrity of the show's title, that theatergoers realize which narrative is being put forth.

Nonetheless, the work does contain nuggets of genuine insight and even some pointedly funny moments (although these are frequently undercut by John Emmett O'Brien's overly aggressive sound design), and the actresses often do what they can to spark the show to life.

Zenk notably combines a sort of sepia-toned sentimentality with an ironic edge for one monologue in which a woman remembers her mother's adoration of Isadora Duncan, while Duffy proves absolutely devastating in a sequence in which a woman remembers her depressive mother's suicide.

Sadly, it's typical of the show's missteps that this latter sequence is curiously and almost grotesquely followed by one in which the women break out into song and dance to James Brown's "I Feel Good," Aretha Franklin's "R-E-S-P-E-C-T," and Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" while animated sequences play in the background.