Meg Caudill & Karole Spangler in Goin’ Up Home. Photo: Eve Theatre
Goin’ Up Home
By Scout Larken Link
Score by Stephen Reinhardt
Directed by Gilmer McCormick
A review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2022 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Somewhere in rural west Kentucky sits an old house full of secrets from past generations. This weathered home contains the memories of a family growing old with prosperity and tragedy. As you peek inside this rustic home, a kitchen holds remnants of meals and comfort from a day gone by.
Eve Theater Company has served up a new work by Scout Larken Link called Goin’ Up Home, set within a beautifully built farm house. As a family comes together to clean and sort the memories of the old house, resolutions are found with the mysteries it held over the years.
Playwright Link has crafted rich dialogue full of colloquialisms and turns of phrase straight out of the Western region of Kentucky. Karole Spangler and Meg Caudill as cousins Emily and Liz find an appropriate drawl that allows the language to flow like ice tea. The rapport built by Spangler and Caudill as they clean the old home while teasing each other and reflecting on old memories is genuine and tender. On the arrival of their niece, Hallie, Liz McFerran adds an outsider perspective. McFerran’s character serves as a surrogate for the audience with each new story she uncovers about her family’s mythology. She brings honest and relatable reactions to traditions that one might think are outdated, like laying coins on corpses.
The plot line primarily focuses on Hallie’s intuitive gift that she most likely inherited from the family. Flashbacks play in fine contrast to Hallie’s search for answers and stories of the past. With each discovery Hallie makes, the flashbacks display a tragedy involving a small child, mother, and grandmother, played with a well-timed sympathy by Su Crocker and Ellie Scherer. These scenes provide a strong emotional backbone for the story and rich subtext for the home and the family’s struggles. I enjoyed these scenes throughout the first act and felt the second act deserved a flashback that made an effort to resolve the present-day conflict between family members.
The second act remains solely in the present day as Liz and Emily prepare for a family picnic on the last day before handing the house over to the state to be condemned. New characters are introduced and a brand new conflict is ushered in as estranged uncle Gary, played with sufficient bite by Eric Sharp, attempts to take what he believes is rightfully his. Gary’s argument with the family leads to a violent, albeit rushed conclusion.
Music plays a major part in this show. Steve Reinhardt has provided a beautiful score that works well within the memories and reminiscing. While the swell of music creates an oversentimental tone at times, I would be remiss to not point out the production’s original score and songs. Without it, the show would lack something very special.
Eve Theater Company strives to showcase women’s voices in theater. Goin’ Up Home accomplishes this goal by showing the familial relationships between women across generations, with an end product of what we learn and inherit from those who came before us.
Goin’ Up Home
June 17-19, 23-25, July 1-3, 2022Eve Theatre Company
The Mex Theatre at Kentucky Performing Arts
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!