The street of dreams

Peninsula playwright Rebecca Redshaw distinctly remembers the first time her original play "Hennessey Street" was performed here, about four years ago.

"A mother brought her 13-year-old son, a real jock," Redshaw said. "He ran up to me after the play and said 'Can I meet Denise? She really gets it!'" Denise was a 17-year-old tomboy character in the play.

Recalling that story, Redshaw tears up because she said that was her goal - while the main characters are four women ranging in age from 17 to mid-80s, she wanted to make the story relatable to any age or gender.

"The writing is timeless," said director Charlotte McElroy, who directed the play in 2004 as well. "You can smell the smells on that street, you feel the weather, you're there ... I find it exciting."

"Hennessey Street" is a one-act play, all taking place on the fictional street with a colorful group of residents.

"It represents the neighborhood we all wish we'd lived in," said Redshaw of her imaginary street. "It encompasses four generations of women and their lives there."

The play has no dialogue, only a slew of monologues from the women, which include Agnes, an 80-something widow who lived on Hennessey Street her entire married life and has come back to visit; Jesse, an actress who never quite made it to the A-list and escapes to the neighborhood for solace between films; Teresa, a waitress who married a much older man and began supporting the family after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and went to live in an assisting-living center; and Denise, a 17-year-old tomboy who has managed to attend high school without ever having learned to read.

Of the four women, only Marianne Trowbridge, who plays Agnes, was in the play four years ago. The others, Marie O'Neill, who plays Teresa, Amelia Andaleon, who plays Denise, and Diana Bigelow, who plays Jesse, are learning to bring their own experiences to their characters.

"Sometimes I feel like I want to mother Denise," said Andaleon, who plays a character nearly three decades her junior. "But I can relate to her as well ... I can see myself being friends with her when I was in high school."

Similarly, while directing the play, McElroy said she often found herself wanting to be friends with these characters.

"I wanted to know what they were about and what their wisdom was," McElroy said.

The real lesson of the story, said Redshaw, is the idea that things around us may change, but essentially, life remains the constant. To prove her point, Redshaw recites a quote from Agnes in the play: "Things are never the same and things are always the same."

Performances of "Hennessey Street" will take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7-8 at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse, 2 p.m. Nov. 9 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Sequim and 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles, as a benefit for the church.

"Hennessey Street"

An original play

by Rebecca Redshaw

Nov. 7-8, Port Angeles Community Playhouse, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 9, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Sequim, 2 p.m.

Nov. 9, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles, 7 p.m.

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