The Last Michigan


The Last Michigan
  • Loved this play. Clever lines. Universal themes — relationship issues, recovering from illness, body image and communication difficulties. Good actors. The hour flew by.

  • First-time playwright Diane Hightower hits the right notes in this play where an annual women’s festival is the backdrop for the literal and figurative travels of two women who are in a relationship. Directed by Emerson Rapp, the play is funny, honest, and real.

    Wendy Buchheit and Stephanie Spalding, two straight actors, are convincing as two lesbians who are in love and have weathered storms together. These are not the one-dimensional lesbians that my community gets tagged with in Hollywood scripts, but real people in a real relationship. They are funny, flawed, and forceful. The audience reviews were consistent–the funny lines were met with laughter, the emotional punches brought tears, and the audience was pulling for these characters. One audience member commented that the show was, “The mark of good theater – we’ll be talking about what happened and why and what it tells us about ourselves for some time to come.”

    Wendy Buchheit as Michelle says more with a facial expression than a thousand lines of dialogue. Her glance at a prosthetic breast absolutely crystallizes in one second EVERY cancer survivor’s befuddled relationship with those things. Her delivery hits the core of the so many emotions that Michelle experiences. And she perfectly captures the vulnerability and hope of a woman who has been through the storm but still hopes to see the sun.

    Stephanie Spalding embodies the part of us that is ever hopeful. Through her eyes, the audience sees the festival and its women, the stars and the trees, with joyous wonder–either again or for the first time. She adeptly travels through steadfastness to impulsiveness and into growth from pain — one way or another, we’ve all been there.

    Stephanie Keady Flanagan, radiates “I’ve seen a lot, and it will all be ok,” and in doing so, becomes the woman you want as a mentor. And Rebecca Ralstin is sultry and fearless, which is–without spoilers–just what her role requires.

    This was a great experience. It feels like those characters left the theater with the rest of us, and they’re at home continuing their lives tonight just like we are. One review captures it all: “Super play that uses humor, wit, and excellent dialogue to present common subjects/themes in a unique manner. I laughed, I cried and I can’t wait to see what she does next!”