Seven year old Ashley is dead. We know this because a huge grave stone dominates the set for the world premiere of “
Ashley’s grave is the meeting place for Ashley’s mother Margaret (Kelley Weir), who seems to be a very uptight and angry woman and the cemetery’s groundskeeper Paulie (Robert Sicular), a man of limited intelligence and education, lonely and desperate for company.
The first meeting does not go well. Margaret is angry because she feels Paulie is desecrating her daughter’s grave, though softens somewhat when she discovers he is the groundskeeper. When she tries to end their encounter, he seems desperate to keep her there, talking.
As the two talk, it becomes apparent that both have secrets they have buried and that both need a “resting place” where they can just get away from everything.
Paulie reveals a childhood of neglect and abandonment, a life lived in detention centers and then, saddest of all, his decision to rob a bank to get money for medical care for his grandmother. Prison, he confesses, taught him a trade and when he was released, he deliberately violated his parole so he could go back to prison and continue his education in gardening.
The third member of the cast is a non-speaking child, dressed, head to toe, in a skeleton costume. The role is shared by Jack Hughes and Andrew Standriff.
Lighting Designer Dale Marshall has done some wonderful work, including a beautiful “morning,” as Paulie wakes up from a night of drinking. The “sun through the leaves” effect was perfect.
“Resting Place” is a show about coming to terms with the secrets in our past and learning to deal with them, to forgive ourselves for our past transgressions, give ourselves a “do over,” and to move forward. `