Love, loss and laughter converge in Old Globe’s comedy premiere of Be a Good Little Widow
By Diana Saenger
The loss of loved ones is inevitable throughout life, but the experience can sometimes be made easier when we can laugh again or really understand our pain. Playwright Bekah Brunstetter explores this theme in the touching, quirky comedy, “Be a Good Little Widow,” directed by Hal Brooks for its West Coast premiere at the Old Globe Theatre.
Melody (Zoë Winters) has recently experienced the best of times and the worst of times. She’s newly married, but becomes a widow shortly thereafter when Craig (Ben Graney) dies. Also grieving over the loss is Melody’s mother-in-law, Hope (Christine Estabrook), who takes on the role of comforter and mentor even though deep inside she’s mourning as well.
Estabrook said she was excited to jump back into a stage play after filming a television pilot. She said “Be a Good Little Widow” is intense, but the script also has humor, and she found it somewhat cathartic.
“I don’t have any children of my own, and when you play a role like this you realize what you’ve missed (motherhood), even though I have two wonderful step-children,” she said. “I think the story will help people to understand mothers better, because this woman (Hope) has the best intentions of what she’s trying to do for Melody.”
For Hope, the situation is doubly difficult. She’s spent years mourning the death of Craig’s father, and now she must grieve for her son’s death, while also leading Melody through the sorrow and the drastic change in her life.
“Hope is tightly wound but she has the best idea of the way to approach someone in this situation because she’s had a lot of experience,” Estabrook said. “She also wants her son’s memory to be honored in a certain way … Melody wants to raise him up as a guy – what he liked to eat, and more about his normal life. It’s grand versus individual, and that’s where Hope and Melody butt heads. It’s so unlikely they will ever get along … but we find solace in the strangest bedfellows.”
Of the playwright, the Globe’s new artistic director Barry Edelstein said, “One of this theater’s most important jobs is to introduce San Diego audiences to the voices that will shape the next period in American theater, and Bekah’s is surely one of those.”
If you go
What: “Be a Good Little Widow”
When: Matinees, evenings May 11-June 9
Where: Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park
Tickets: From $29
Box Office: (619) 23-GLOBE
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