‘21 Hollow Oak Road’: Exceptional storytelling meets amazing execution
Rose Androwich | Monday, March 28, 2022
Saint Mary’s student Abigail Pinnow’s senior theatre comprehensive, a play titled “21 Hollow Oak Road,” debuted on Tuesday, March 22. The play was a beautiful story following a group of women who lived in the same house but at various times. As it explores the struggles faced by each generation of women, the play becomes a beautiful commentary on the way people wonder how things would be different if they had made other choices. As it progresses, Pinnow creates added depth by contrasting various perceptions of what it means to be a woman. The working women are envied by the women who did not have the opportunity to receive an education.
However, this play shows that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Annie (Catherine Cushwa), a woman from the 1980s, is working at a job she hates. Due to the sexism in the workplace, she feels obligated to stay at this terrible job. She knows that If she leaves her job, she will be replaced with a man. Because of this, she feels she must tolerate the sexism she experiences every day. She views herself as someone who has every opportunity in the world but just can’t ‘make it.’
Katy (Madeline Law), the play’s main character, endures a different struggle: that of not wanting to work all day, and simply wanting to live for herself. She is unhappy doing accounting but feels she needs the financial security the job provides to her. Her struggles illustrate the pressure to achieve financial security, even if it means sacrificing your happiness.
Elvira (Hannah Bruckman) is in a position where she has few options for work, so she chooses to become a teacher. Her options are staying home or becoming a teacher. Because of her few options, she cannot help but envy Amanda, who married young and stays at home. Amanda (Leeanna Silkworth) and Elvira are the same age, but they live incredibly different lives. Each questions whether the other’s life is better, these internal debates providing a representation of the lack of choices for women in the 1940s.
The stories of these women intersect to create a beautifully woven final product. It is extremely important to tell stories like this: here, 10 women from different generations all share their own perspectives and the struggles they face. Pinnow’s storytelling is just one aspect that made the play such an impactful and powerful one.
The execution of the play and the work of the actors and stage managers added to Pinnow’s exceptional writing. The implementation of multiple actors within separate roles was done very well, and the actors did wonderfully in mastering the essence of the characters. Additionally, the stage set-up was implemented in a very entertaining way: for instance, the characters criticize Katie’s decorations in a way that is extremely funny, and this is just one comedic occurrence throughout the production. To approach such an important topic while still adding humor to the dialogue highlights Pinnow’s talent for writing.
Another aspect that I loved was the final scene of the play, during which Katy blows out the candles on a homemade birthday cake that has been baked for her. This scene recalls the beginning of the play, when Amanda sees the boxed cake Katy’s friend had sent for her and remarks that she does not believe that to be a proper birthday cake. Also, it was a very cool effect to see the lights dim completely when Katy blows out the candles.
As a whole, “21 Hollow Oak Road” is a story that explores important themes and holds exceptional production value.
Play: “21 Hollow Oak Road”
Starring: Madeline Law, Leanna Silkworth, Hannah Bruckman, Natalie Beigel, Catherine Cushwa, Julia Zusi
Director: Abigail Pinnow
Where: Saint Mary’s College
When: March 23rd, 2022
Shamrocks: 5 out of 5