New Century Theatre. Directed by Ed Golden
Third in NCT’s summer series of four plays. An attempt to involve the disease called progeria, which accelerates human growth over a much briefer than normal period, usually ending in death by age sixteen. The Kimberly of the title is the afflicted teenager, who has just now turned sixteen, and has the mind and heart and capacity for affection of a girl that age, but the looks and body of an aged woman (played very well by Jeannine Haas, of late middle age, and made up to look even older). Her flagrantly dysfunctional father, mother, and aunt are the clicheed stuff of TV situation comedy, though very well played by David Mason, Cate Damon, and a non-Equity actor just out of college named Brianne Beatrice. She, Kimberly, latches onto a kid who works at the local competitor to Burger King, Jeff, wonderfully well played by the sixteen-year-old Theo Maltz, still in high school but already a seasoned Equity card holder. A fraudulent check-cashing scheme dreamed up by Debra, the aunt, turns the tables on the predatory Debra and takes Kimberly and Jeff off to Six Flags, where the play ends and at the same time leaves all the real-life issues hanging unresolved.
The audience laughed a lot at this play by David Lindsay-Abaire, and it was well-realized (for what it was worth) by the director, Ed Golden, who can be trusted with anything of substance and much — witness the present instance — that is not. We are asked to suspend our concern with all the serious issues raised but not really addressed by this play. It made me feel uncomfortable all night, mumbling under my breath and silently inveighing against a culture that, like its current president, resolutely refuses to face bad and mortal things and call them by their right names. What if someone wrote a dark and serious drama about the same subject? What then?