Leave Me Green at The Gym at Judson
The central character of Lisi DeHaas’ bittersweet Leave Me Green never appears onstage. Inez, beloved long-time partner of Rebecca (Charlotte Booker) and co-parent of Gus (Oscar AL Cabrera), was killed during a suicide bombing while serving overseas. Inez is neither a ghost nor “angel in the house” – the audience learns enough about her to know she would hate being thought of in those ways – but a guiding spirit sorely missed by her family and neighbor Myron (Michael Gaines).
The greatest strength of DeHass’ script is that there is no sensationalism about Gus and his two Moms. They were a happy, cohesive family unit – a refreshing, positive idea. Jay Stull’s careful direction carries this out completely. Even before the one-act play begins, he has the characters enter the Judson Gym just like the audience. The great four-actor cast creates a strong, believable family all their own.
Accepting the concept of “family” at word value also allows for other dramatic possibilities. Rebecca’s current job as a real estate broker is going no better than her failed acting career. Gus was closer to Inez, who in truth was something of a control freak. Inez’s death has unhinged her survivors, for Rebecca is an alcoholic seriously neglecting the confused, withdrawn Gus.
Leave Me Green isn’t exclusively about sex but facing the truth. In a beautifully-written scene, Gus attends an Alateen meeting led by Lia (Emma Meltzer), the only member present. The two are initially wary of each other – Gus is shy and Lia neurotic – but they connect as they go through the organization’s prescribed guidelines. When Lia cannot continue reading her opening remarks, Gus does so for her. In another brutal scene, a drunken Rebecca burns the birthday dinner she prepared for Gus and relentlessly insults the scarred teenage girl. Yet the terribleness leads to healing.
Gus is an aspiring musician, so music plays an important part in the healing process. Jazz, The Talking Heads, Gershwin and salsa are all in the mix. Occasionally, the music speaks what the protagonists cannot. In time, they learn to speak for themselves.
Leave Me Green is on at The Gym at Judson until 11th April 2015, for further information or to book visit here.