Down-home dysfunction in SkyPilot Theatre’s ‘Inhale Harmonica’

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Inhale Harmonica is another fine production from SkyPilot Theatre Company. It takes place in Kentucky, the home state of playwright Nathan Wellman. It’s a theatrical family drama, in the same vein as August, Osage County.

This play is about secrets, lies, and skeletons in the closet that every family has, yet is reluctant to reveal. It’s akin to Our Town, as many of the house inhabitants seem like lost souls in their own worlds.

Patriarch Isaiah (Morry Schorr) stands guard over his family, along with Maw Maw, a foul mouthed grandmother, played wonderfully by Nan Tepper. Another colorful character is Amanda (Kelly Goodman). Also hanging around the perimeter is Chuck (David Haverty) the love interest of Amanda and Charlie (Ian Nemser), the would-be pastor and sibling of Reagan (Phoebe Kuhlman). All are overprotective of young Zoe (Amelia Chand), wise beyond her years.

At one significant, forlorn moment, Charlie pulls out his harmonica and plays—hence the title.

The family is visited by an unannounced stranger named Jeremy (Arden Haywood Smalls) who claims to be Zoe’s grandfather, and the plot thickens.

The love/hate relationships are prevalent throughout. For example, Amanda and Chuck’s dialogues are filled with sarcasm and vitriol.

The set is wonderfully designed by Morgan Olson—basically a down-home Kentucky house—replete with porch where all interactions occur.

The play is a paeon to the lives inhabited by many a Southern poet and playwright, the likes of Thomas Wolfe, Carson McCullough and Tennessee Williams. It’s the tale of a fractured, frenetic family, forever searching for the freedom we all so crave.

“Inhale Harmonica” runs through November 15th on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm at Studio Stage Theatre located at 520 N. Western Ave. in Los Angeles. Call (800) 838-3006 or visit SkyPilotTheatre.com.

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