‘Sally and Glen at the Palace’ at Out of Box Theatre
I don’t know which to praise more, the play, the acting, or the theater, but all I can say is I am looking forward to whatever is playing next at Out of Box Theatre in Marietta.
My friends and I caught the last performance of “Sally and Glen at the Palace” by Atlanta actor and writer, Peter Hardy, and all three of us were impressed. Peter Hardy has managed to give us characters we like and care about, and a unique story that interweaves movie mementos with a middle-aged woman’s memories of her young adulthood.
Sally (Ashley Anderson) takes us back to the early 1970s when she didn’t quite realize all that she really wanted was staring right at her. A 21-year-old college student from a small town in Alabama, Sally gets a job selling tickets at the local art house theater where she works with ticket-taker Glen (Chaz Duffy), an aspiring director. Duffy entertains Sally — and the audience — acting out scenes from horror movies and impersonating his future self accepting an Oscar for directing his first feature film. Duffy played the part well, but neither my friends nor I believed he was believable as a man who would be attracted to women. He went through the motions to portray his interest in Sally, but the emotion and sexual energy was not there.
Prim, proper and shy, Sally abhors the X-rated films the theater sometimes shows, and cringes when callers ask about them. At once, she seems as frail as a bird but turns cold and tough to get what she wants. Just when you think you know these characters, Hardy deftly switches their direction. Anderson was outstanding and believable each step of the way as her moods and personality changed from a grown woman, to a shy young coed, to a heartbroken woman. If this caliber of acting is indicative of future actors who perform Out of Box Theatre, hallelujah!
The set was rudimentary but was all that was needed to portray an old movie theater that looked like it could have been created 40 years ago or more. For a small fledgling theater, that simple set featuring a candy counter, ticket booth, and red movie curtain was all that was needed.
Out of Box Theatre also has comics (although I don’t see them listed on the website), but that’s what the announcer said at the show, and a slew of upcoming new plays. Tucked behind hidden center on Highway 41 in Marietta, Out of Box Theatre is worth the trip.