Monday, June 13, 2022

Mother -Daughter Team Face Off In Roustabouts Psychological Drama, “Iron”.

Rosina Reynolds

 The first sounds one hears in Roustabouts “Iron” by Rona Munro (Dr. Who: Survival) and directed by Jacole Kitchen, are the slamming of prison bars or cell doors closing. Behind those iron doors and/or bars is a lifer, Fay (Rosina Reynolds).

In a fit of uncontrollable rage, brought on by her husband’s dismissal of her, she plunged a knife into his stomach killing him. Did/does she regret it? Absolutely yes. Did /does she still love him? More than ever. Does she want to put the incident behind her? No contest. 

Outside the doors is Josie (Kate Rose Reynolds) Fay’s 30 year old daughter. Josie was a child when all this went down, and would like to jog her memory of her father, whom she barely remembers and how it was that her mother killed her father. Josie was raised by her Gran(her father’s mother), whose recent death has left Josie alone. Her only living relative, to her knowledge, is her mother. 

Rosina Reynolds and Kate Rose Reynolds

Without any pre planning Josie shows up at the prison to visit her mother after a 20 year absence. After a long discussion about prison protocol with one of the guards (Richard P Trujillo) she returns, papers filled out, for that long awaited visit. What follows is a series of visits and discussions/ disclosures between the two.  Sometimes they go smoothly, other times, no much.

Kate Rose Reynolds and Rosina Reynolds

Both women, (real life mother/daughter) seem to be coming from different ends of the spectrum; Josie wants to know more about her father whom she barely remembers and Fay wants to know about Josie and what her life is all about. 

As the visits become a weekly thing, Fay manages to redirect all of Josie’s questions into events in her life that Josie can’t help but buy into especially when Fay asks Josie if she remembers all of those times. If not, Fay fills her in on the details so another chapter of Fay’s life is thrown back into Josie’s lap.  This without once getting to the source of the killing. 

Both actors are exceptional in their respective roles. As a long times presence on many San Diego stages Rosina is considered one of the outstanding actors to play on our many stages here, even having won the San Diego Theatre Critics Award for “Angels In America”, “Golda’s Balcony”, “Wit”, “Shirley Valentine” among others. In this particular production she shows us why. She is so exceptional. Almost the iron lady she manages to knock Josie on her heels with revelations of the 20 year ago event on the one hand and on the other she shows us her frailties and insecurities when Josie prods on. She is definitely at her best at both. 

Rosina, Richard J. Trujillo, Jada Alston Owens and Kate Rose Reynolds

For her part, Kate, (Margin of Error) shows us her stuff as she is able to turn on a dime with her facial expressions, so telling that words are often not needed. Even in her joy at making her mother smile as she gives into her mother’s whims, she is all too expressive. She too is truly her mother’s daughter. 

Set in a women's prison in Scotland(yes, the accents sounded very real to these ears), Tony Cucuzzella’s prison set is stark in gray tones with a table with chairs for the purpose of the visits, a desk for the two prison guards, (Guard 1 Richard P. Trujillo and Guard 2, Jada Alston Owens) who are in charge of Fay’s every move including her visits with Josie. Both do yeoman’s work. 

Michelle Miles is responsible for the lighting, Pamela Stomploy-Ericson designed the costumes and Ron Christopher acted as flight choreographer. 

Both mother and daughter deserve a Brava for fine acting in a play that captures the true nature of the push me pull you decisions each has to make on a dime on issues like mental health, separation, uncertainties, fear, hope and belonging.

It’s a long sit, but well worth it. The play runs over two hours of intense dialogue with a bit of hometown humor thrown in for some levity.

Do yourself a favor and head out to Moxie Theatre and bring your friends to see the well directed, and exceptionally acted, “Iron”. 

Dates: Through June 25th
Organization: Roustabouts Theatre Company
Phone: 619. 568.5800
Production Type: Drama
Where: Moxie Theatre, 6663El Cajon Blvd St N
Ticket Prices: $45.00
Photo: Daren Scott

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