Elemeno Pea – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

Tiffany Porter and Cynthia D. Barker in Horizon Theatre's Elemeno Pea. Photo by Bradley Hester

Tiffany Porter and Cynthia D. Barker in Horizon Theatre’s Elemeno Pea. Photo by Bradley Hester

It was supposed to be a girl’s weekend where two sisters could catch up and reconnect, but the consequences of recent choices make the weekend turn upside down.

Simone (Cynthia D. Barker), who works as an assistant to uber rich Michaela Kell (Cara Mantella), invites her sister Devon (Tiffany Porter) to Martha’s Vineyard to stay at her employer’s beach house. As the wealthy board up the homes for the fall and winter, other doors begin to open.

Molly Smith Metzler’s Elemeno Pea, at Horizon Theatre, dives into more than just the divide between classes. It lifts the veil on aspects of human nature that both classes sometimes want to sweep under the rug and forces us all to look at the choices we make in life.

A firestorm from the beginning, the play’s intensity doesn’t let up much. Under Heidi Cline McKerley’s clever direction, the cast is mesmerizing. Together, they create an energy that becomes a driving force through the quick action of the play, which takes place in “real time,” performed in one act and just one scene.

An ensemble piece, the play allows each of the cast members to have a moment to showcase their talents, and this cast takes full advantage of each opportunity. Mantella plays the over-the-top character well – histrionic fits and all. She shows a comedic side as well as the emotional vulnerability to make the audience feel sorry for her situation.

As the two sisters, both Barker and Porter shine. Barker’s Simone is wonderful, and she balances well against Porter’s Devon, who stands out among the others in the cast. With her subtle glances and sarcastic quips, she transcends the role to create a memorable and engaging performance. Tony Guerrero and Adam Fristoe round out the cast, and each one is amusing and funny in their roles as the groundskeeper and the boyfriend respectively.

The set, designed by Isabel A. Curley-Clay and Moriah Curley-Clay is an amazing recreation of a posh beach home and easily transports the audience into the place of action. Mary Parker’s lighting design compliments their design well. In addition, Thom Jenkins’ sound design becomes a character of its own and helps to create a few comedic moments.

A juicy drama about truth and consequences, Elemeno Pea runs at Horizon Theatre through April 13, 2014. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The show’s runtime is 100 minutes with no intermission. Please note that due to adult situations and language, the theater recommends the show for ages 16 and up.

– Kenny Norton