Theater Review: Humor in 'Sealed' arises from serious stuff

"Sealed for Freshness" is a side-splitting comedy with a deeply serious side. Zingo and his cast played both sides just right in Saturday night's performance at the ACE Annex, with the play's author in the audience.

In a preperformance interview with The Register-Guard arts reporter Fred Crafts, Stone said that "You can't have comedy without resonance. It just seems empty." In both their silliness and their sadness, the characters in "Sealed for Freshness" seemed to resonate strongly with the mostly female audience Saturday night, although men were laughing just as hard, even at some anatomical humor that was at their gender's expense.

Playwright Stone, director Zingo, the five women and the token male (Richard Leebrick) seem to have found just the right balance and pacing to make this essentially serious stuff disarmingly funny.

Norton and McClatchy's characters stay pretty much the same, but Nirenstein, Kennedy and Cody have to show more layers of their characters. They have the chops, and Stone could do worse than take all three to New York for the off- Broadway production he plans next spring.

Cody is like a force of nature on stage. Her moment of truth is the most dramatic - and leads to the most hilarious - but Nirenstein and Kennedy are equally effective with more understated approaches.

All five characters throw light, from different angles, on issues of careers, marriage, motherhood, love and self-realization that women wrestle with when their men go bowling.

Paul Denison is the assistant features editor of The Register-Guard.