"One cannot dismiss the intelligence behind Alterations. Ms. Curran does know how to observe people. Fascinating." - The New York Times
"Funny and observant." - Newsday
"Truly comical." - The New Yorker
"Excellent." - Variety
"Ms. Curran has created a theatre piece whose humor helps ratify its authentic observation." - Christian Science Monitor
KeywordsAdolescence, Aging, Betrayal, Business, Childhood, Death, Feminism, Friendship, Illness/Health, Love, Marriage, Memory
- Strong Language
- Mild Adult Themes
- Nudity/Partial Nudity
- Minimum Fee: $90 per performance
- Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day, 1980s
- Duration: 90 minutes
- Setting: One set - the interior of a brownstone in New York City. Downstage is the living room/dining room area and upstage is a small fitting room where Erica designs and makes costumes and tries them on her clients.
- Additional Features: Local Celebrity Cameo, No intermission
- Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Fantasy Costumes
- Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
- Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
- Chorus Size: No Chorus
BIESEL - 70-80, (pronounced Beezle) is a strong-willed, very hard of hearing, older woman whose frail body is causing her to become a lot more dependent than she'd like to be. She cultivates vagueness to protect herself from everything she isn't ready to hear. She uses her hearing aid to manipulate her daughter. She is loving when she feels safe and competetive when she doesn't.
ERICA - 40-50, is trapped between the needs of her mother and her daughter and when she is no longer able to cope she rearranges all the furniture. She has a biting sense of humor and accesses anger easily - but, underneath it all, she is trying to do the right thing and feels her efforts are going unrecognized. Her inability to come from love when she most wants to is her personal dilemma and the struggle she begins to resolve in the last scene.
PHOEBE - 15-17, is naturally intelligent and thinks deeply. She is not in the least bit bratty or precocious. She has learned to maneuver her mother's overt strength with a quiter strength. She is fair minded and a peace keeper. She has found God and, through meditation, a much needed stillness.
PETER - 40-50, is Erica's husband - they are separated. Peter is a good man with a warm heart who knows better than anyone where and why Erica hurts but he's running out of patience with her refusal to look at herself in the mirror. When the play begins he still has hope that, if he just hangs in, reconciliation will be possible.
ADRIANNA - 20-30, is a model at the end of her relationship with her boyfriend. She's ditzy on the surface and smart underneath - almost in spite of herself. She has confidence in herself professionally but not personally.
- Ensemble cast
- Non-Traditional casting
- Features Teens
- Local Celebrity Cameo
- Multicultural casting
- Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
- Parts for Senior Actors
Written with an upper middle class family of "Wasps" in mind but the casting can be colorblind as long as character intentions are clear.
Alterations was first presented at Portland Stage in Portland, Maine, on December 4, 1981. It was directed by Barbara Rosoff. The play subsequently premiered in New York City at the WPA Theatre on October 29. It was directed by Austin Pendleton.