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December 26, 2013 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-12-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Scullery Maid

On the JET stage: suspense and
intrigue in medieval England.

Ronelle Grier

Contributing Writer

Note: Due to early publication dead-
lines, this review is based on a dress
rehearsal held a week before the show's
official opening.

W

atching a dress rehearsal
of The Scullery Maid by
nationally recognized
Michigan playwright
Joseph Zettelmaier was
an unexpectedly welcome
departure from attending a
finished performance. And,
if the rehearsal of a play still smooth-
ing out its rough edges could be so
mesmerizing, the final product is sure
to be a knockout.
The suspense-filled story takes
place in 1360, in the wake of the Black
Plague, in the English castle of King
Edward III (John Manfredi). Edward
is celebrating a military coup, and
the kitchen staff — Miriam (Julia
Garlotte), a Jewish scullery maid;
her longtime mentor, Bess (Ruth
Crawford); and the new girl, a former
prostitute named Dulcie (Jacquie
Floyd) — is serving double-duty after
losing so many workers to the deadly
disease.
Miriam and Pascal (Alan Madlane),
the king's steward, are plotting a dan-
gerous scheme, which leads to a sus-
penseful confrontation with a shock-
ing outcome.
Experiencing the inner workings of

a show in progress (picture your liv-
ing room on moving day) makes clear
how much work and skill is required
to meld so many diverse components
into a seamless production, something
we often take for granted on opening
night.
It was enlightening to watch director
Joseph Albright stop the action while
Sound Designer Matt Lira fine-tuned the
falling rain effects, which in turn made
the perfectly-timed flashes
of lightning by Lighting
Designer Neil Koivu even
more impressive.
While the set, designed
by the talented Jennifer Maiseloff, was
still under construction, it promised to
be an accurate and striking rendition
of a mid-1300s castle, complete with a
carved wooden throne and a working
fire in the hearth. The costumes by
Mary Copenhagen and props by Diane
Ulseth were authentic to the era; a
highlight is the king's floor-length, fur-
trimmed, crimson-brocade robe.
The acting is first-rate. Manfredi is
the quintessential king, imperious and
regal, and the fighting scene, which he
choreographed, is realistic and excit-
ing. As the ditzy prostitute-turned-
cook, Floyd is a natural, providing
welcome humor in an otherwise seri-
ous story.

DINE, DANCE 8. CELEBRATE

NEW YEAR'S
EVE

2014

Entertainment

BETH STALKER

REV IEW

Sylvester Stallone as old boxing
rivals who come out of retirement
for one last match.
Alan Arkin plays Stallone's char-
acter's former trainer, "Lightning"
Louis Epstein, and Jon Bernthal
portrays the son of Robert
DeNiro's character.

X- mas Tune

"Underneath the Tree," co-written
by Greg Kurstin, 44, and singer
Kelly Clarkson, is the biggest new
X-mas hit of 2013. Kurstin is a top
producer, and Clarkson recently
told Jay Leno she waited to do
her first X-mas album until he was
available.
"He's Jewish, so he didn't know
any of the [Christmas] songs," she
explained. "But he's so talented."



JET presents The Scullery Maid
through Jan.12. (248) 788-
2900; jettheatre.org .

Kennedy Honors

A celebration of the 2013 recipi-
ents of the Kennedy Center
Honors for lifetime achievement in
the arts will air at 9 p.m. Sunday,
Dec. 29, on CBS. The honorees
include opera singer Martina
Arroyo, jazz musician-composer
Herbie Hancock, actress Shirley
MacLaine, musician-songwriter
Carlos Santana and singer-song-
writer Billy Joel, 64.
Joel, a secular Jew, is the son of
a German Jewish refugee father
and an American Jewish mother.
Last week, it was announced that
in 2014 he would play a concert a
month in Madison Square Garden
in New York. He'll play the Palace
of Auburn Hills on Saturday, Feb.

15.



Select New Year 's

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December 26 • 2013

43

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