Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Delval Divas" Launches Women's Theatre in Boca Raton


Laughing It Up Behind Bars with “Delval Divas”

By Skip Sheffield

The good news is that the Women’s Theatre Project has moved to Boca Raton. The inaugural production, “Delval Divas,” continues through Nov. 15 in the Willow Theatre of Sugar Sand Park.
This bodes well for the theatrical community and actresses in particular. It also enables audiences to experience plays they will see nowhere else.
The not-so-good news is that “Delval Divas,” by Barbara Pease Weber is not a particularly strong play. However, the performances are funny and spirited, by six of some of South Florida’s best actresses.
The setting is Delaware Valley Federal, a minimum-security prison for white-collar criminals.
Stella (Jessica K. Peterson), Linda (Karen Stephenson, Rosemary (Sally Bondi) and Beth (Jacqueline Laggy) have cooked books, skimmed funds, done Ponzi schemes and other such economic crimes. They have used their inherent intelligence and talent to create a pretty sweet setup that is more like a high-end hotel than prison cell.
The ladies are attended to by Lucille (Lela Elam), a young guard who is their liaison to the outside and the good life such as manicures, pedicures, gourmet food and clothes. In turn the women have encouraged Lucille to further her education and shoot for the job of warden, which is conveniently becoming available.
Beth is released on parole, and in her place comes Sharon (Lisa Kertin Braun), a woman accused of the rather serious crime of murdering her husband.
This is a comedy- a situation comedy if you will- and Sharon’s situation involves extenuating circumstances that led law enforcement officials to believe her to be a cold-blooded killer.
These extenuating circumstances involve certain unseen male characters against whom the women rally, giving the comedy a distinct feminist spin.
Jessica K. Peterson, Karen Stephens, Sally Bondi, Jaqueline Laggy and Lela Elam are all seasoned professionals, along with director Genie Croft.  Lisa Kerstin Braun is a relative newcomer is who shows great promise with her demanding role of Sharon. All the women know how to mine the most comedy out of even the thinnest material. This is not designed to be a serious expose of abuses of privilege in country club prisons, but a light-hearted farce designed to spoof the system.
Tickets are $25. Shows are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 561-347-3948 or visit

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