“Picnic” enjoys a fresh spin at The Adobe Theater this August, bringing a few new arrivals to their stage. William Inge’s 1953 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama examines the obsession with youth and beauty in the pursuit of relationships. Set on the last day of summer in a small Kansas town, a bevy of women neighbors representing every phase of maturity anticipate their prospects of romance before the last social event of the season.
The youngest fem is Kimberly Sengir as Millie Owens, a brainiac tomboy who is tired of living in the shadow of her older sister’s attractiveness. This is Sengir’s first performance in New Mexico and she easily masters the bold spirit of Mille. It’s a blast watching her assume the slightly bent and sneaky posture of an adolescent brat. Millie’s prime 18-year-old sister Madge (Kiersten Johnson) has become expressively worn-out from the pressure of having to be the perfect pretty one. In her debut as a leading cast member, Johnson relishes her considerable time on stage and keeps flawless pace with the action. Through the acts, she grows into the character and emerges quite poised.
H. K. Philips is superb as the girls’ single parent, Flo, who must make sure her daughters find good providers so their lives turn out to be more successful than hers. Philips also makes her first appearance with the Adobe and in “Picnic” she shows great command of Inge’s profile of a loving and hardworking mother. The Owens share a common wall with aging schoolteacher Rosemary Sydney, played with bravado by Carolyn Hogan, who is no stranger to the Adobe family. Hogan finds the right swagger in portraying the spinster’s desperation to find a husband for herself and she punches her lines with unflappable style—even after the whiskey takes effect.