Love Beneath Unlucky Stars

Review of The Scarlet Letter at Intiman Theatre by Safaa D.

Zabryna Guevara as Hester. By Chris Bennion

This is the story of a young woman brought to love beneath unlucky stars and her child, Pearl (Renata Friedman and Izabel Mar) who bears the burden of her mother’s sin. Hester (Zabryna Guevera) is a young gentlewoman living within the heat of the Salem witch trials. In love with the Pastor Dimmsdale (Frank Boyd) she conceives a child by him out of wedlock. Through their sin, Hester is plunged into a merciless void. Scorned by the villagers, she struggles to live in a world without mercy.

Accompanied by a haunting violin serenade an adult Pearl (Friedman) appears, weak in demeanor, reciting an invective against Hester’s name, blaming her for all the strife she lives with. Here, her mother enters with the pastor following close behind, both are blissful and care free. Dancing through ash trees. Jubilant. This scene is cut short, quickly moving to Hester’s humiliation within the court of justice.

Pearl’s memories are interwoven with Hester’s life, contrasting the two characters: Zabryna Gueavera portrays Hester as a pillar of strength, standing like a soldier in spite of her sin; Renata Friedman as Pearl is younger and a head taller but appears slumped and weak. Mother and daughter are depicted as having opposite bearings, yet make many of the same mistakes in their lives: Pearl regrets her mother and wishes never to see her, while Hester declares her lover a coward and dead to her. The audience is engaged and responsive to the powerful emotions on stage.

Izabel Mar as Pearl and Zabryna Guevara as Hester. By Chris Bennion.

The setting and costumes support the play well. Rigid colors spin a somber red, white and black atmosphere. Still true to the time period, the sharp, unadorned costumes amplify the characters. The lighting gives wonder and mystique to the performance while the live violinist—Emily Holden—adds a haunting melody to the ambiance.

This is a piece of work not to be missed! I enjoyed the simple presentation built upon a complex structure of society’s rules and morals. Even though more than 300 years has passed since the time this play is set in, our systems have changed, yet we maintain prejudices against people with different values, showing not as much progress as one might hope. I would encourage you dear readers to take the chance of viewing this wonderful production of The Scarlet Letter.

The Scarlet Letter
Intiman Theatre
Through December 5
Ages 13+ for adult language and themes

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