I've been anticipating "Mary Jane" since it was first announced Pre-CoVid. Then, as everything limped back to life, Third Rail put on a few other things I did not see, but the absence of "Mary Jane" from them made me believe they had decided against producing it. So, I decided to read the script for myself. I must say, I'm not a huge Amy Herzog fan, (She had a play which ended with untranslated French, seemingly out-of-nowhere.) "Mary Jane" has a somewhat ambiguous ending as well, which I disliked.
Reading the script in no way prepared me for what was on stage last night.
In the exceptionally skilled-hands of CoHo's cast, the play is transformed into something as raw and real as I could ever hope to encounter.
Here's a small example: Mary Jane, (Rebecca Lingafelter) is telling a brand-new mother of a child with a disability all the ins-and-outs of navigating government bureaucracy for medical equipment and other needs. On the page, this registered as merely a vehicle to make the audience think: "my God, it shouldn't be nearly that difficult." If it was written for that purpose, that's fine--and even necessary--because it indeed should not be that difficult, but it was also a monotonous-read. Lingafelter's delivery is anything but monotonous. She speaks the lines as with the breeziness of a vetaeran of these processes, who can spare this new mother some undue frustration. A perfect representation of the parent-top-parent community that forms organically in this otherwise isolating world.
Later, a small but significant promise is broken by the hospital, and Mart Jane just loses it, because it's the last straw in one of the worst situations imaginable. I thought: "that's my mom." It was not a thought I had when reading the scene. Again, I suspect it is Langafelter's brilliant interpretation.
If she does not win a Drammy, something is very wrong.