Theater review: Matters of Choice by Hendersonville Community Theatre

Patty Siebert, Helen McConnell and Martha Hogenboom in The Flirt from Matters Of Choice Photo courtesy of the theater company

A few years ago, the Hendersonville Community Theatre moved into an old downtown church, which came a small reception hall. This space has allowed the theater company to produce smaller, more intimate shows that might not be right for the main stage. The latest production, Matters of Choice, consists of three original one-act offerings by local playwright Sue Bargeloh.

“The Flirt” deals with three elderly friends, played by Patty Siebert, Martha Hogenboom and Helen McConnell. Siebert’s Pam has decided on an outfit that would be more suited to a younger woman. This leads the friends to a frank discussion of flirtation and romance through the prism of aging . There are lots of laughs and knowing glances onstage and in the audience during this charming play.

“Wendy’s Choice” takes a darker turn, as we find two sisters and a caregiver, played by Lyn Morton, Judie Carson Sloan and Jenny Lee, respectively. Wendy has decided to die on her own terms — with the help and support of her sister — after living with multiple sclerosis. But Wendy’s sister is having second thoughts. At moments that play feels a bit over-wrought and melodramatic, but at other times is makes us think about our own mortality. It delivers a powerful punch overall.

“The Least Among Us” finds a church committee wrapping up its meeting when Millie, played by Kathleen Riddle arrives. She’s distraught, yet determined to move the group to action over an injustice she has uncovered. What ensues is a heated debate about using church funds to rescue an abused dog from another member of the congregation. Millie and Jack McConnell’s Jim find themselves in a powerful argument, while Annette Hobbs’s Helen and Bob Pomepeo’s Gary are caught in the middle. The play spins its wheels a little in the middle as statistics and facts are rattled off, rendering the deeply personal conflict less personal. By the end there’s an ideological stand still over competing philosophies. Jan Robbins offers a calm voice of mediation as Mother Francis. There is no easy answer, and the play does not definitively take sides, leaving the audience to search our own feelings about the subject.

Although the three plays have little in common with each other, they do share a strong theme of how the choices we make inform our passions, fears and views. In that regard, Hendersonville Community Theatre and Bargeloh have accomplished something worth heralding.

WHAT: Matters of Choice by Sue Bargeloh
WHERE: Hendersonville Community Theatre.
WHEN: Through Sunday, Feb. 21. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. By donation.

About Jeff Messer
playwright, actor, director and producer, Jeff Messer has been most recently known as a popular radio talk show host. He has been a part of the WNC theatre scene for over 25 years, and actively works with and supports most of the theatres throughout the region. Follow me @jeffdouglasmess

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