Carrie Madren, Bay Weekly Theatre Critic, Published on March 8, 2007 © 2006- The Bay Weekly

This award-winning drama pulls adult theatergoers deep into complex, compelling characters at crossroads of connections Twin Beach Players’ The Whispers of Saints is a study of relationships, time and love. A mother, her lover and her daughter come to a crossroads at the beach home of Catherine, a former psychiatrist (Helenmary Ball) and her much younger lover — and former patient — David (Tom Weaver). Maryland playwright Mark Scharf won first place for both Best Play and Best Production with his Whispers in the 2002 Baltimore Playwrights Festival. For Twin Beach Players’ revival, he worked with directors Janine Naus and Joanne McDonald to bring this intimate story of human connections to local audiences. As the play opens, barreling into Catherine and David’s breezy, uncommitted love affair comes middle-aged, crisis-ridden daughter Laura (Katzi Carver), who has retreated home carrying loads of emotional baggage and the news that her husband of 15 years seeks divorce. Discarded Laura resents her mother’s love affair with a man younger than she herself, which dredges up old angers. In her pain, she resists both David’s attempts to help and her mother’s attempts to love. Frustrated in reaching out to Laura, Catherine and David both reveal their own baggage and weaknesses. In a drama of the very human emotion — and very human — defenses, we see complex characters at a crossroads. The story unfolds from one afternoon into the next morning in the beach house kitchen. A real sliding glass door — applauded by playwright Scharf, who was in the audience on opening night — adds stability and strength to the set. A breeze ruffles the lace curtains and crashing ocean waves sound from backstage when Catherine leans on the open glass door to hear the sea’s soft lapping on sand — the whispers of saints, she calls it. Like the glass door all the props are real. David cracks open more than one bottle of Harp Lager in the kitchen filled with shells and beach house furniture. In the intimate Black Box Theatre at Union Church, the actors are so close that you feel like you’re a part of the drama. As well as engaging storyline, fine acting drives this drama. Katzi Carver’s Laura is as sharp as a knife, her bottled anger driving bitter exchanges with her mother and David. As the play unfolds, we see a complex character reveal pain, uncertainty about the future and, finally, a glimpse of hope. As Laura’s life-weathered mother Catherine, Helenmary Ball is a natural. Ball’s motherly grace — towards both Laura and David — contrasts with her storied past, the source of much of the younger woman’s anger: Catherine divorced her husband and was forced out of her profession after an affair with a patient. Ball plays her character as a self-preservationist. Catherine’s lover, David — played by Tom Weaver, who fits the part well — is a kind, mid-20s drifter, nestled into the off-season beachside retreat, where Catherine helps suppress his slight manic-depressive tendencies. This isn’t one for kids — Carver’s bare legs dangle from an oversized shirt in the second act — but it’s a story that will take adults deep into complex, compelling characters.