A Taste of “A Taste of Honey”

Lucas McMahon ’08, long-time actor, director and producer of theater productions throughout his years at Phillips Academy, is now graduating. For his last big project, an independent project, McMahon is directing the powerful drama “A Taste of Honey,” written by Shelagh Delaney. The play will be showing in Steinbach Theater Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m. “A Taste of Honey” tells the story of Jo (Anabel Bacon ’09) and follows her dramatic life in post-WWII Britain. It details her relationships with important people in her life and how they change, while also delving into her relationship with herself. The play touches on controversial and modern topics including racism, abortion, homosexuality, teen-pregnancy and abuse. McMahon said, “Britain at this post-war era is interestingly expressed through Jo’s personal point of view. ‘A Taste of Honey’ is unique because it presents a picture of a broken family during a time that was obsessed with the so-called ‘modern family.’ The story is personal and direct; it taps into vital emotions that are both exhilarating and heart-breaking. This is not a saccharine fairy tale. Shelagh Delaney is not afraid to let her characters fail.” Each character in the play has an intense, interesting back-story, which adds to the play’s effect of drawing the audience in. Bacon brilliantly plays 17-year-old Jo, who is scared to start her life in the real world because she doesn’t want to end up like her immature and manipulative mother, Helen (Ellie Shepley ’08). Shepley’s stage presence is remarkable and she does a great job adapting to her wild character. Helen’s drunk, abusive boyfriend and eventual husband, Peter (Charlie Walters ’10), really holds his own next to the older actors, Bacon and Shepley. The “homemaker” Geoff (Eric Sirakian ’10) tries to fix Jo’s troubled and weary life and make everything better. Sirakian brightens the show, and, as the only genuinely nice character in the show, he has the ability to soften this very dramatic story. Lastly, Jimmie (Demetrius Lalane ’11), is Jo’s first love. Although Lalane doesn’t have the biggest part in the play, he works with what he has and turns his character into a crucial component of the plot. McMahon said, “Katy Svec [’10] has been an amazing stage manager. This production really could not have happened without her diligence and hard work. Evan DelGuadio [’08] did an outstanding job designing and construction the physical production. And finally, Lucy Maguire [’08] and her musicians have worked really hard to provide live music for the show, adding another dimension to the action.” When asked if he thought he was completely prepared for his first showing tonight, McMahon said “I think it is bad luck and nearly impossible to see 100 percent prepared before opening night. However, I can only hope that the energy and enthusiasm will propel us to a great performance!”