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Petaluma Theater: Cinnabar’s ‘Cry It Out’ is ‘sensational,’ ‘moving’

Planning to go?

What: ‘Cry it Out,’ by Molly Smith Metzler

When: Sept, 10–26, with special video streaming-on-demand Sept 24-26.

Where: Cinnabar Theater, 3333 N. Petaluma Blvd.

Information: CinnabarTheater.com.

Becoming a new mother is hard enough. In contemporary society, women also put up with contradictory pressures of career vs. caregiver.

If too much time is spent in the office, something is wrong and she becomes a “bad” parent. On the other hand, women who prefer to take on the responsibilities of a full-time mother are eviscerated for reducing the family to poverty and often their career track is permanently damaged.

In this no-win situation, is there any hope?

Molly Smith Metzler’s “Cry it Out,” directed at Cinnabar by Molly Noble, delves straight into the quagmire, as three mothers grapple with balancing realities, expectations and their own yearnings.

Jessie (Ilana Niernberger) laughs at the archaeological find of a lip gloss collection in one of her drawers, wondering when she had the time to bother about something so trivial. Her world has completely changed to revolve around the new life cooing through the baby monitor. Niernberger’s intensely vulnerable performance is powerfully moving.

Equally compelling is Amanda Vitiello as Lina, her vibrantly extroverted neighbor. Vitiello is the ideal fit for this witty, genuinely hilarious character. Through a combination of flawless blocking by director Molly Noble and an effervescent script, Lina is comedic gold. Her confident presence instantly sets the tone for this brilliant play, leading the audience down a path of laughter and tragedy.

Although her time on stage is limited, Kellie Donnelly is exceptional as Adrienne. Her story takes an astonishing turn, leading to a sensational interaction between Adrienne and Jessie that is one of the most engaging moments of the play.

Andrew Patton gathered sympathy from the audience with his endearingly awkward portrayal of Mitchell. He shuffles through drifting leaves in the quietly realistic set, designed by Sharlyn Klein.

In an amusing parallel to recent events, the mothers discuss how a trip to the grocery store has become the highlight of their week, which is otherwise spent at home. Most of us responded with knowing nods, and that aspect of this play has gained additional layers due to last year’s stay-at-home experience.

Cinnabar’s lobby furniture has been cleared out to avoid crowding, in addition to the mask requirement and vaccination card check. A middle aisle has been added to create shorter seating rows and rather than physical playbills, a QR code is available to scan for the digital program.

“Cry it Out” is the story of friendship, motherhood and love. Its lively one-act structure and outstanding ensemble is just what we needed to reopen in-person theater.

Welcome back, Cinnabar!

Planning to go?

What: ‘Cry it Out,’ by Molly Smith Metzler

When: Sept, 10–26, with special video streaming-on-demand Sept 24-26.

Where: Cinnabar Theater, 3333 N. Petaluma Blvd.

Information: CinnabarTheater.com.

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