Hartford Stage Company, Hartford: When you think about it, so many women carry so many responsibilities on their shoulders and are so weighted down with problems that it’s amazing they can actually stand on two feet. Yet, they do. For instance, take Evelyn, the Puerto Rican protagonist in Obie Award-winning playwright Nilaja Sun’s one-woman play, “Pike St.” now at Hartford Stage. This character, like so many real women has much too much to bear. Sandwiched between her elderly father, Poppi, a womanizer who drinks too much, and her teenage daughter who is severely disabled, she now has to deal with the likelihood of a major hurricane hitting her apartment located in New York’s Lower East Side. Add to this that her brother returns from Afghanistan suffering from PTSD.
Sun, who is best known for her play “No Child…” and who is a fine actress plays all of the characters she wrote. She is a vivacious actress with energy to spare. Starting with a smart move to gain the audience’s attention, the playwright practices breathing lessons with audience participation and ends up swooshing bad vibes away from the stage. It’s as clever as it is effective.