reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Carmel Theatre Company’s production of June McCarty Clair’s newest play, In the Presence of My Enemies opened on the Cat Theatre stage this weekend. The promising script, which is Ms. Clair’s fifth offering – the first four being musicals – is directed by her husband, John Clair, and contains themes of grief and greed with a smattering of chaos.

This is the story of Sarah, recently widowed, who must face the tasks of making choices for her late husband’s funeral, while she deals with the children from his first marriage, whose objectives seem less than totally honorable. There are lessons in proper preparation here, which make the script a worthwhile endeavor, though I feel the writing is not yet in its best and final form.

Though the play is not overly long, in its two-act format it suffers a bit from having a single linear storyline. All the nuances of grief and conflict are done and redone to a point where, to my sensibilities, we begin seeing repetitions that do not score well. Perhaps a secondary storyline of some sort may be in order. If not, the play might have played better in its one hour length, which recently appeared at this year’s Diva Fest. I believe Ms. Clair is onto a valid and worthy examination of these human foibles, grief and greed, but some tweaking of the action might be beneficial.

The presentation likewise suffered from what I sensed was an under-preparedness by the cast. Missed cues, stops and starts, overtalking, line gaps – all appeared at times. It seemed the players were a good 3 or 4 days from readiness, and thus the show was less cohesive and smooth than I expect it will be later in the run.

Carmel Theatre Company’s In the Presence of My Enemies is offered at The CAT through June 30th. Information about tickets can be found at https://tinyurl.com/my-enemies