Wife to James Whelan
The Mint Theater serves up an engrossing production of Teresa Deevy's little-known play about a pair of star-crossed lovers.
Set forth in three acts, the tale of star-crossed lovers James Whelan (Shawn Fagan) and Nan Bowers (Janie Brookshire) begins when the pair are in their early 20s and drawn passionately to each other, but nevertheless refuse to acknowledge their devotion out of a refusal to reveal individual vulnerabilities.
Instead, as several friends circulate around them -- thoughtful Kate Moran (Rosie Benton), friendly Tom Carey (Aidan Redmond), jealous Bill McGafferty (Jeremy S. Holm), and fresh-faced newcomer Jack McClinsey (Thomas Matthew Kelley) -- James insists he must leave town to pursue promising work in Dublin. Meanwhile, Nan, believing she's being abandoned, mocks him for aspiring to better himself and thereby position himself as superior to her and their surroundings.
Seven years later, when act two begins, James is running a successful motor-services company with plans to expand even further when Nan -- now the widowed mother of a four-year-old -- arrives seeking work. James is willing to oblige, until he catches her stealing a five-pound note he'd left on his desk. Despite the pleading of still-devoted Kate, Tom, and young assistant Apollo Moran (Jon Fletcher), James inflexibly presses charges.
Six weeks later, after Nan has been released from her brief prison sentence, she once again comes to James to seek employment. Whether James finally gives in -- and continues taking up with flirtatious and pouty Nora (Liv Rooth) -- won't be revealed here.
What will be applauded, however, are Deevy's unmissable psychological insights. A lifelong spinster -- who became deaf at the age of 20 from the complications of Meniere's disease -- Deevey obviously had the eye and ear for the damage immature foolishness can cause the young.