Ivan: So, this is the women's room at Caesars Palace - sort of like Grand Central Station. Is life really like this in the powder room?
Susan: Yes and no. Women really do hang out on the couches. Strangers really do talk to each other.Ivan: But do they pour out their deepest, innermost personal secrets to each other?
Susan: Possibly. But to get into an argument a sarcastic banter, 30 seconds after they met, as Pat, the blackjack dealer, and Chris, the naive seminary graduate, did in the play . . . well, I don't know. The first act strained my credulity a bit.
Ivan: It strained my "immaculate perception" (a quote from the play), too. But weren't Vicki Pugmire and Kate Gerland excellent as Chris and Pat, especially in their constant bickering. Between the pontificating and the put-downs, Ross' script gave them plenty of provocative material to work with.
Susan: Yep. There were a lot of one-liners, double-entendres, religious and otherwise. I laughed a lot.
Ivan: There were a lot of dirty words, too - and many local folks won't like that. Most also won't feel comfortable about some other aspects:lesbians, atheists, hookers - the whole gamut of Las Vegas humanity. The six characters in Aden Ross' play seemed to be a composite of the disparate types that congregate along The Strip. Maybe Ross tried to pack too much philosophizing into 90 minutes of women traipsing in and out of the restroom, but I felt the play itself was interesting in concept.
Susan: I got used to the philosophizing by the second act. The banter between Chris and Pat started working for me after I realized that Chris sort of looked at that bathroom as her property, her chapel, the place where she could give the sermons and call the shots and help the ailing.
Ivan: And how about Ross' other four characters. It was interesting how, eventually, their lives crossed each other over the two-day time span. Leona (LuAnn Smith) the cleaning lady, was wonderful, and Candi, the born-again bimbo was certainly a different role from the gingham-gowned lady Teresa Sanderson played last year in "Quilters."
Susan: Director Barb Gandy brought out some brilliant little touches. I loved watching Candi powder her shoulders with glitter. Only in Vegas.
Ivan: Which brings us to Marnie Sears' nifty scenery design. I really liked having this invisible mirror between the audience and the women in the powder room - sort of like those two-way mirrors that therapists use so you can monitor what's going on in the next room without being seen. And you could tell from the moment you walked into the Art Barn's second floor space that this wasn't the Greyhound Bus Depot restroom. At least I don't think the bus depot - even in Vegas - has bright red wallpaper, marble countertops and gold trim on the toilet stalls. What a great set!
Susan: The role played by Charla Brinkpeter is worth noting. She did a good job with Jenny, the distraught Illinois housewife whose husband was a compulsive gambler.
Ivan: All six of these women were gamblers, too, in one way or another. Like Wanda (Mary Bishop), the flamboyant woman who had abandoned her nearly grown children to marry Monty, a 20-year-old. She added some nice touches of comedy to the play.
Susan: Yeah, but here's another instance of too much happening too fast. Here's the way her character evolved: The woman calls herself empty in act one, then forges a strong self by act two.
Ivan: I agree, it wasn't entirely realistic. But since when has Las Vegas been known for realism?
Susan: I loved the costumes. Wanda's wedding outfit - low-cut jumpsuit with the pink chiffon train - perfect.
Ivan: Frankly, I enjoyed Candi's little "goddess" number and miniskirt. But all the costumes really fit the characters (though, perhaps, none quite as tightly as Candi's). Steve Rasmussen did a fine job with the costuming. They were dowdy, bizarre and in-between.
Life in this "Ladies' Room" is certainly different from what you find in the men's room! But the language did sound more like it came from the locker room. It was in R-rated territory much of the time.
Susan: But was the play worth seeing?
Ivan: Hey, you know me - I think all plays are worth seeing. "Ladies' Room" had just the right blend of substance and comedy.
Susan: I agree.