"Women' keeps 'em laughing-The
heated debates between the couple are hilarious."
October 22, 2006
While Neil Simon's play, "Jake's
Women," is notorious for receiving mediocre reviews from
critics, Friday night's debut at the New Castle Playhouse
Annex had the audience captivated throughout the performance.
Under the direction of Kenneth
Cole, the actors had the sold-out crowd laughing and crying
simultaneously while their eyes were glued to the stage,
anticipating what may happen next.
Jay Smith of East Liverpool made
his NCP debut as the lead role of Jake. Smith did an excellent
job of portraying the character that some critics say was
written about Simon himself. Smith was realistic in the part,
and had the audience believing real-life situations were
coming to life on the stage.
"Jake's Women" is set in Jake's
apartment in Soho, N.Y. Jake, a playwright, can be described
as a man who loves to have women in love with him, but is
afraid of commitment. After his 8-year marriage to Maggie,
played by Maura Fornataro, starts to go sour, Jake calls upon
various women in his life to help him out.
Unfortunately for Jake, most of
these women visit him only in his mind. He fantasizes
hilarious conversations with these women to help him justify
his denials and hardships, blaming his family life,
particularly his parents for them.
Visitors His visitors include
his loud-mouthed, very opinionated sister, Karen; his realist
therapist, Edith; his dead wife whom he is still in love with,
Julie; and his daughter at ages 12 and 21, Molly.
Even though the romantic
chemistry between Smith and Fornataro was average at best, the
two of them excelled in heated debates concerning their
The laugh-until-you-cry scenes
happened mostly between Smith and Erica Stickel, who played
Karen. Viewers could wholeheartedly relate to this
relationship because it was the traditional love-hate
relationship that many brothers and sisters have for one
After many fictional
conversations with these women, and dating a few others, Jake
soon realizes that his fantasies cannot help him overcome
reality, and that he can no longer dwell on Julie's death. The
play ends with an expected, yet unrealistic reunion with
Maggie after a six-month separation.
Simon wrote this play in 1992 as
a gift for his daughter, Nancy, after she told him she wished
she could spend just one more day with her deceased mother.
Most of the other women who visited him in the play were based
on real-life people who made a large impact on his life.