In Carol Triffle's latest eccentric music-theatre piece, three Southern sisters spill their fame-shame moments – backstage of a Tiny Miss pageant or accidentally naked on camera.
Francesca, the smart one, inherited their childhood home for playing the loser in her parent's pageant scam. Like a worn-out dollhouse, the set by Rex Jantze and Elecia Beebe features faded pastels, protruding corners, painted appliances and uncanny doors good for revolving entrances and exits.
Francesca begrudgingly rents rooms to her sisters, but real estate can't compensate for her crushed self-confidence. Megan Skye Hale keeps her considerable energy contained for this role, the stump to her sister's swinging branches.
Isabella (Elizabeth Fagan), returns from Albuquerque where she acted in an art film, or a "sensitive scene", or yeah, porn. She flops and flails, dropping polaroids, fishing for praise and singing through awkward reveals (music by Katie Griesar).
No match for Margarita (Anne Sorce), who has endless energy for self-aggrandizing – the top of the kitchen table is her preferred pedestal. She keeps close anyone who elevates her, like Bob the Weatherman (Sean Bowie) who dedicates each bizarre broadcast to her beauty, then absorbs her scornful affection.
Each is compelled to reveal herself, not to form meaningful connections, but for a thrilling center stage moment. Exposition drags, but exaggerated physicality and quirky humor earns this show its applause.
See it: Francesca, Isabella, Margarita on a Cloud is at Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., 231-9581, 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, throughJune 16. $15-25.