Theatre: And Sophie Comes Too

Meryl Cohn delivers laughter and heart with a new play.

The proverbial stage is set when sardonic Barbara declares to her comatose mother, “Martha’s cunt is perfect!” From this point, about 10 minutes in, the audience of And Sophie Comes Too knows it’s in for a uniquely sassy brand of women-centric theater.

The swift and sharp-witted play is the latest from playwright Meryl Cohn, an award-winning scribe devoted to irreverence over formula. In the case of Sophie, the title character is mother to the three strong-willed and acid-tongued Abramowitz sisters. We find out later where they get it from, when Sophie emerges from her coma—caused by a Little League game’s foul ball—refreshed, invigorated, and shockingly open-minded.

Suddenly, the trepidation of Ray (formerly Sandra) to come out to Sophie as trans is diluted by her lovingly comic, if puzzled, acclimation to his new identity. Middle sister Rose, whose shot at the perfect suburban life has wilted into a pool of angst, finds that the mother she never had is now the broad-hearted mom she always wanted. And then there’s Barbara, the eldest and arguably well-rounded one, who’s opted to closet herself while she adopts a Chinese baby on her own, while answering personal ads for no-strings-attached sex with conflicted Martha.

Cohn’s writing is the backbone of the play’s screwball nature, but the audience wouldn’t laugh quite so heartily if weren’t for the all-female cast successfully delivering the rich and tightly swapped dialogue. Director Mark Finley must have a streak of estrogen in him to draw out such power from such silly characters, whose femininity and mutual affection laces their biting repartee.

Sophie debuted in Provincetown and went on to sell out all five New York Fringe Festival performances last summer before returning for five more in the Fringe Encores series. It was produced by TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), the prolific LGBT theater company.