~ The code word Denise and Virginia used to determine if
they are high from marijuana. This was said in
the 1983 movie Scarface on network television
to replace the word motherfu****
If playwright Neil Simon rewrote the 1968 movie The Odd Couple with female roommates, it would be Yes, Virginia. There is something real and warm when the characters are only women. Gone is the testosterone-fueled tendency to come across as macho and harsh. Sometimes a woman’s firm but inviting touch, kind yet strong, comes across as authentic and pure.
Films like The Women (1939 and the remake in 2008) and Steel Magnolias (1989) prove that an all-female cast can sell movies without the males stroking more than their egos. Yes, Virginia is now included in the echelon of movies with an extraordinary cast. Virginia, (played marvelously by Ellia English, formerly Aunt Helen King from The Jamie Foxx Show and currently has a recurring role as nurse Isabel Mendez on the CBS medical drama Code Black) comes on her regular Thursday to care for retired accountant Denise Miller (the extraordinary Mindy Sterling from the Austin Powers series as Mike Myers evil henchwoman Frau Farbissina).
Denise is usually happy to see her employee/confidant on New Year’s Eve but is bewildered why Virginia came over. She let her go years ago. Virginia probably didn’t get the the memo and came in to work as usual. Since her son’s Ronnie’s death, Denise lives alone in the oft quiet, huge house.
Denise reminds Virginia how they had dinner at the Olive Garden and broke the news that Virginia no longer works for her. At the time, it appeared that Virginia understood but apparently not because she’s in Denise’s house going about her business. As she figures out another way to tell Virginia she no longer has a job, Virginia has an accident in the kitchen. Her ankle is painfully swollen and can barely walk. Denise insists on caring for her friend the way she cared for Denise’s family for the past 37 years. This is where it gets good. The women get high on lollipops laced with marijuana. They repeatedly say their favorite cuss word.
Denise recalls the night she spent at the Studio 54 nightclub in New York with a then 10-year-old Tatum (O’Neal), Liza (Minnelli) Donna (Summer) and fashion designer Halston. She even does a little lip-synching to a rock tune. Virginia looks on with beaming pride. She says, “We’re two nice old ladies spitting out motherfu****.” These mature babes can still turn up and out. However, Denise sees there’s something wrong with her friend. The memory issues Virginia has worry Denise. There’s more to her friend then she’s letting on and she’s determined to find out what it is. Virginia pleads with Denise to stop fussing, that she will be fine. Denise carries on and ignores her.
Playwright/director Stan Zimmerman and playwright Christian McLaughlin got it right with this humorous, laugh-out-loud production. Great actresses at their best in a smartly-written, hysterical show. Zimmerman and McLaughlin are on point having created a thought-provoking piece of work that not only causes laughter but also craftily weaves in issues of being older and dealing with it. It’s an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but it needs to be. Just think about it while enjoying one of Denise’s lollipops to ease the tension. A definite go-see-this quick before it goes away.
Yes, Virginia plays Fridays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., ending on Sunday, May 14th, at the Combined Artform/Studio C Artists, located at 6448 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles. For ticket reservation, log on to www.yes-virginia.eventbrite.com