.. lls, though, Babe managed to do the unthinkable..murder. Babe shot her husband simply because, as she just blatantly states in the beginning of the play, she did not like the way he looked But as the play developed, she revealed that she shot him because he caught her with her lover, a fifteen year old black boy, and being that this story takes place in the South, this was something that was not accepted in society. This was also hard on Babe because she loved this boy, although in the beginning, when this was being developed by Babe explaining to her sister Meg what had happened, I did not get the impression that she was in love with him, but in the end, it was made clear. The conflicts of each of these women were not all resolved by the end of the play.
Some were still there or just somewhat lessened. Lenny began the resolution to her biggest problem or conflict, by calling the man with whom she had ended the relationship with. She explained to him that the reason she told him that they could not see eachother anymore, was because she had a weak ovary and she could not have children, and not because of something he had done. It turned out that he did not like children anyway, and so her major conflict was resolved. The conflict with her jealousy towards Meg, was not to say resolved, but it was not something that was consuming her in the end. She had so many things going on in her life at one time that it was easy to let her feelings out in jealousy against her sister.
Even her birthday, which she spent alone, was amended. Her sisters bought her a birthday cake and let her make a real wish, because as Babe said, wishes only come true if they are made on a cake. Babes conflicts were hardly resolved. The black boy was sent away as part of a plea bargain and towards the end Zachary, her husband, goes back on his word and tells her that he is going to have her declared insane and put away in a mental institution. Her mental state is, I believe, quite questionable. She has an affair with a 15 year old boy, then tries to kill her husband.
Next, came her actions following the phone call from Zachary. She decided that the solution was to end her life. First, she tried to hang herself on the chandelier, but it ripped out of the wall, making her first attempt unsuccessful. Next, Babe put her head in the oven and turned on the gas. It was not working fast enough so she grabbed a match and was going to cause an explosion which inturn would kill her, but right before she lit the match, she had a revelation.
She realized that her mother hung herself with her cat, because she did not want to die alone, and Babe realized that she too did not want to die alone. Meg was still an unsuccessful singer, but she now realized that she had her sisters, and their love, which were more important than anything else. Crimes of the Heart, takes place in the late 70s in the hot summer months. The economic conditions were what are typically generalized about the south. Most people did not have an extreme amount of money, but everyone seemed satisfied. Morally, I think that people were bitter and into everyone elses business. Social standing in the community, and reputations were of highest importance to the people, especially the women.
A kitchen, in a little southern town called Hazlehurst, in Mississippi, was where this entire play took place. The kitchen was designed after Beth Henleys grandmothers kitchen. Although there is no extravagance in the set, the characters and story are enough to have you completely satisfied. Being that Henley is Southern, she writes her plays to depict and capture the essence of the South, and she could not have picked a better time period to do this. It was the time of racial prejudice, and simple southern ways, which she liked to display vividly in her writings. If I were to put on a production of Crimes of the Heart, I would choose to do it at the Maroney Theater.
It is simple, which is perfect for the simple kitchen setting I would use for this play. It has a big stage that can be seen clearly at every angle of the audience, so it would be ideal. For music I would select a few classical pieces appropriate for times of sadness and joy. I would for sure play one song in particular. The song Happy Birthday at the beginning of the play when Lenny is singing to herself on her birthday.
Some sound effects that I might use would be: the sound of Docs car coming up the driveway, the sound of Babe slicing the lemons with a big knife, the sound of the chandelier crashing to the ground after Babe tries to hang herself, and maybe a gun shot sound when Babe is telling Meg about the shooting. There were may roles in Crimes of the Heart. The three Magrath sisters: Lenny, Meg and Babe were the obvious prime characters in the play. Then there was the nosy, bad-mouthing cousin that lived next door Chick Boyle, The Doc, who was the man that Meg left behind to go to Hollywood, Zachary Butrelle, Babes abusive husband, and Willie Jay, Babes fifteen year old lover. Lenny Magrath was a character that I found to be most interesting.
I imagine her, form the descriptions and from her character throughout the play to be a mildly attractive woman. She is in her thirties but I imagine her to look a little bit older. She is not dressed very well. She dresses very conservative, and in very boring earthy toned clothes. Lenny is very uptight kind of person, keeping everything neat, getting annoyed when things are a mess, because it makes her life seem chaotic and she likes to be in control of everything.
She gets upset easily making it seem like all her real emotions are bottled up inside, and only come out in lashes. Her life is not very exciting nor is it a joyful one. Lenny does not want to grow old and be alone like her mother felt. She ends up rekindling the relationship with the man, and her attitude changes right away. She was acting carefree and was acting in an almost childish manner, yelling and hopping around the kitchen. She was not going to be alone anymore, and that made everything all right.
Calling him in the first step was a huge step for Lenny, being as soft-spoken as she is. The costumes I imagine are pre-eighties-looking. Not stylish in any way at all. Very basic costumes, like sun dresses that women in the South are thought to have worn. No bright colors mainly earth tones were the primary colors, and the materials and patterns looked cheap.
If I were to present this play I believe I would want to keep the same motif. The entire time I read the play, the costumes were just as I have described and I believe it helps to get the idea and story of the play across successfully. The story itself is quite complex and interesting in itself, so costumes should be simple in order to keep the audience interested. There is no need for loud, busy costumes. They would only negatively affect the overall production of this wonderfully intriguing play.