Evelyn in Purgatory

Evelyn In Purgatory
OnStage Atlanta
through October 1, 2022

Playwright (and actor) Topher Payne has a knack for weaving incredible humor into utter confusion and/or pathos and he does so quite brilliantly in this opus.

We meet five NYC school teachers who have been cited for inappropriate behavior and face censure or possible termination of employment. But, being a governmental agency the process moves at a snail’s pace, and if you expect that everything will make sense then you’ve never tried to deal with a governmental agency.

Evelyn (Haley Lovitt) is a sort of Miss Prim who has just arrived at what one might consider the holding cell for the hearings. She’s dressed for Court and ready to fight, but the fight isn’t ready to begin. Lila (Celeste Campbell) is an older woman who is sitting idly by and knitting away. She’s been waiting quite a log time, and isn’t bent out of shape about it. After all; her pay and benefits continue without any problems and she doesn’t have to do anything other than sit idly by.

Paige Steadman plays the wise older teacher, Ms. Burke, who knows how to play the system and has been doing so for quite a while. She figures that so long as the system is insane to start with that the insanity might just as well favor her. The two men who also await hearings are Toby (Jeffrey Liu) who is a geek and wannabe screenwriter, and Coach Fred (Barry West) who’s been waiting to respond to charges that he abused some kids who had been bullying an other student. But, the Coach may also have some deeper issues, as do some of the other teachers.
Harsha Mahtini plays the assigned hearing agent, who is quite ice cold and difficult to start with. That is until some secrets of her own come to surface.

Perfectly cast and directed by Barbara Washington, this is a most unusual play. In the first act one may even miss a few lines because you will be laughing your head off so much. Then as the pathos starts to rise up in Act 2, you start to see each character somewhat differently.

The bottom line is that it is an unique offering, well staged on the studio stage and can make you glad you’re not involved with these folks on a daily basis, More info and tickets at OnStageAtlanta.com