Feeding Beatrice

Grand Dame Queenie, Amy Sherald, 2013

Dinner and a show. Cyrano’s for dinner. The show was downstairs in the Studio’s hot black-box of a space. The Rep went all out on set design for this play. The hallway to the space was decorated in a gothic motif, befitting the play’s mood. I was glad to know that the upstairs mainstage space was dark this week, because there was a running soundtrack of creaks and groaning timbers that if there had been a crowd up there, it would have made me very nervous. Seating was more limited than normal, with the set taking up more than the usual amount of floor space.

This is the world premiere of Feeding Beatrice. Starting just before Halloween, it is almost at the end of it run. It is set in an old Boston mansion, in one of the better neighborhoods, but is in need of repair. As the lights come on, Lurie and June Walker, a young black couple and new owners are christening their four-footed tub, au naturel. June sees a million things that need to be done to this house and seems to want them all done immediately. Lurie is less enthusiastic, but is willing to do almost anything that will make June happy. When they find a body beneath the flooring in the bathroom, covering it up again is just one more thing that needs to be done. Enter Beatrice, a young white woman with a ravenous appetite and a fondness for Shirley Temple. Beatrice proceeds to insinuate herself into the Walker’s lives, feeding all the way. She is a little quirky, not the least because she is dead. Lurie’s brother Leroy rounds out the cast, helps to fixup the house and provides some backstory. The Walker’s haunting houseguest continues to make increasing demands, threatening the Walker’s marital bliss, disturbing domesticity and obstructing upward mobility.

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