Keely and Du is an intensely somber play that, on the surface, is about abortion, but with deeper flavor notes in this captivating story. Powerful and thought-provoking Keely and Du is much more than just entertainment.
~Review and Photos by Dana Nöllsch~
Content warning: This play deals seriously with the topics of abortion, sexual assault, and kidnapping. There is violence that may be triggering for some audiences. This review will describe the play in ways that may be disturbing.
Keely is a woman who has been raped by her alcoholic and abusive ex-husband and, finding herself pregnant, is looking to have an abortion. A group of pro-life activists has thwarted Keely’s plans to end the pregnancy by kidnapping her with the goal of holding her in a basement until it is too late to terminate the pregnancy.
Du is a nurse charged with keeping Keely safe and healthy during her captivity. During the play, the audience learns about the tragic backstory that brought Du to her current state of fanaticism.
Walter is the man in charge of the Christian extremist group holding Keely. Walter wants his followers to obey his will and is prepared to make that happen at any cost.
Here are some photos of Keely and Du.
The relationship between Keely and Du changes during the play, which is fascinating to watch. A bit of Stockholm Syndrome may come into play, but Keely is too strong-willed to fall into the will of her captors. The audience also sees Du respond to Keely’s feelings. This relationship is played brilliantly by the actors.
Another thing that struck me is how freedom comes into play. Keely has her freedom taken away when she is kidnapped, but even before this happens, she is not truly free. Her responsibilities to her dad force her to work two jobs, unable to enjoy and explore life. Events from Du’s past hold her captive. The fanatical belief system that Walter has keeps him captive. Alcoholism and anger keep Keely’s ex-husband bound to his abusive nature.
I challenge you to look deeper into the nuances of Keely and Du as you watch this play. There are so many layers that there is no doubt you will see things others do not.
Paige Tatem plays Keely with the strength and determination of this strong-willed but vulnerable woman. Tatem is perfect for this role.
Kathy Welch plays Du with a sympathetic vulnerability hardened by her strong beliefs. Welch is a brilliant actor, and she brings her best to the role of Du.
Adam Neace plays Walter with a painful fanaticism so well that you can feel the frustration in Walter’s every breath.
Jayton Newbury plays Cole, Keely’s ex-husband. Newbury shows Cole’s frustration as the character tries to address his true nature but fails to conform to the person he wishes to become.
There is much to unpack from these actors’ stellar performances.
Take in the set and see if you notice the subtleties that add vibrance to the scene. I won’t say anything more and leave it up to you to discover.
Why see Keely and Du
If you want to experience a play that will challenge you on many levels, then Keely and Du is for you. There may not be any laughs, but Keely and Du is powerful with performances to match.
Keely and Du
By Jane Martin
Directed by Sandra Brunell Neace
Keely …. Paige Tatem
Du …. Kathy Welch
Walter …. Adam Neace
Cole …. Jayton Newbury
Guard …. Evelyn Mejia Ronquillo
Orderly #1 …. Max Hambright
Orderly #2 …. Keana Hamilton
Keely and Du plays March 10th through March 25 at Good Luck Macbeth.
For tickets, go to goodluckmacbeth.org
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