The Critics Love TINY ISLAND by Michael Hollinger
It’s the early 80s, and a pair of sisters struggle over the fate of the family’s movie theatre, as video stores encroach and cable TV looms. Memories come to vivid life as they face some truths, and some selves, they’ve avoided all their lives.
“Directed by Artistic Director Bill Largess, longtime company members Laura Giannarelli and Lynn Steinmetz take on the two sisters, Muriel and Hazel respectively, and they do so like two old friends. In this opening selection in Stage Guild’s 30th season, I’m sure that the interplay between these two sisters will only grow deeper and fonder and more glistening with sparks as the run continues … the production strikes many a tantalizing note, and Giannarelli and Steinmetz give us two older female characters reminiscent of an era when both the world, and the theatre, were seemingly more deeply rooted in what matters most. That type of nostalgia, like the nostalgia for classic films, is what this production of Tiny Island does best.”
– Robert Michael Oliver, dcmetrotheatrearts.com
“Michael Hollinger’s Tiny Island certainly fits the theme chosen for the Washington Stage Guild’s 30th year-“A Season of Past & Future.” The premise of estranged sisters reuniting after decades of stony neglect-in the movie house sanctuary of their childhood, no less-and finding their way forward by confronting the past is ripe for exquisite theater …Artistic Director Bill Largess does a fine job… a warm, easygoing production.The scenes are set within a delightfully rendered projection room designed by Kirk Kristlibas, completed with the addition of two grand, authentic arc-carbon film projectors borrowed from the Catholic University drama department. The lighting is evocatively crafted by Marianne Meadows, and the sound design by Frank DiSalvo, Jr. is sharp. Kristlibas does double duty with the costumes from two eras (1950s and 1980s), and obviously had some fun with the ’80s teens’ looks… The roles of Muriel and Hazel are juicy for middle-aged actresses, and Steinmetz is genuine and unerring. Her Hazel is a likable crank, plastering over her pain with vodka from the toilet tank and wise-cracking about human shortcomings, her own included.”
– Roy Maurer, dctheatrescene.com