Mrs. Cage

Rated 4.0

There’s no mystery in this murder; the audience knows from the opening moments who’s dead and who did it. The question becomes then, in a far more interesting fashion, why Mrs. Cage (Voress Franklin) shot a woman in a supermarket parking lot. But the woman isn’t the only one who’s dead, and in the telling—or rather, in the interrogation by Lt. Angel (Brandon Rubin)—of Mrs. Cage’s story, we learn a great deal about love and the lack of it.

Celebration Arts’ production of Mrs. Cage, a one-act, two-actor piece, is spare and direct, but no less intense for that. Set in a police precinct, it is a deconstruction of a crime that occurred offstage, but no less intense for the lack of visible violence. Mrs. Cage is a middle-aged homemaker, precise and polite, which immediately contrasts with the crime she acknowledges having committed. It’s Franklin’s skill that winds out the tale, taking the audience with her as she creates a great deal of sympathy for the murderess. Because Franklin is so deft with her character, the undercurrent of rage that provoked the murder is as much a surprise to Mrs. Cage as it is to the audience. Rubin’s police lieutenant is also puzzled by her crime, and he cajoles and courts Mrs. Cage into a full explanation.

It is a mark of James Wheatley’s able direction that two people in a precinct interrogation room does not become claustrophobic. Instead, Mrs. Cage offers insight into all the ways that violence can destroy a person.