"OWNERS:" OF PEOPLE AND THINGS GALORE


Bonnie Goldberg

Do we own things or do things own us? Are we better off with everything we desire or should we abhor being trapped by our possessions?

Meet Marion who wants all things and Alec who wants the freedom of having nothing. The contrasts of their opposite philosophies are presented as a battle. Marion wants to fight the good fight while Alec can't wait to wave the white flag of surrender.

In Caryl Churchill's "Owners," for sale or rent at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven until Saturday, November 16, we are caught in a strange world where we are encouraged to take sides and root for a winner, if there is one.

Marion (Brenda Meaney) is the successful entrepreneur, a real estate tycoon who wants to won the world, at least her particular piece, in North London in 1972. She has had a stint in a mental hospital and hsd known Alec (Tommy Schriber) in a former life, when they were lovers. Today they are dramatically opposed, at different sides of the boxing ring.

In order to consummate a big deal, she must have her assistant Worsely (Joby Earle) persuade Alec and his wife Lisa (Sarah Manton) to move from their flat.  While the negotiations are heating up, Worsely keeps raising the financial stakes, hoping to lure the pregnant Lisa into an acceptance of the terms. After all, their flat also contains Alec's aging and sick mom and their tow sons. Alec, himself, has abstained form life, being content to sit in a chair or on a bed and vegetate. Like Marion, Lisa wants more and she is willing to barter her most precious possession to get it. But will it be enough or will she regret her actions?

Meanwhile Marion's husband Clegg (Anthony Cochrane) has plots of his won brewing: he'd like wifey dearest to die, conveniently or with a little help from his friends. Not to be outdone, Marion has a few wishes of her own to punish Alec for not being responsive to her wiles. As Alec wakes up form his slumber and his mom (Alex Trow) takes a permanent snooze, the plot becomes more bizarre. Director Evan Yionoulis keeps the absurdist themes moving toward the darkly comic conclusion on a intricate revolving set created by Carmen Martinez.

For tickets ($20-98), call Yale Rep, 1120 Chapel street, New Haven at 203-432-1234 or www.yalerep.org. Performances are tuesday at 8 p.m, Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

You'll need a score card to keep track of who is sleeping with whom, who wants to kill someone else, what means they'd like to use (gun, knife, poison, arson) and who is trying -- successfully -- to do away with himself. And you thought "Clue" was a difficult game.

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