The playwright Jenny Schwartz savors words the way a more indolent person might gorge on bonbons—delighting in language’s sound, shape, and scrumptious connotations. In Somewhere Fun, the dreamlike three-act play at the Vineyard, even the character names have an onomatopoetic punch: the pushy Rosemary Rappaport (Kate Mulgrew), the egoistic Evelyn Armstrong (Kathleen Chalfant).
These two women knew each other long ago as young mothers, when as Rosemary says, “the world was in black and white, and I still had a waistline!” The play begins as they briefly encounter each other on a blustery stretch of Madison Ave., then spins off toward a crime scene, a hospital room, and into the past. Marsha Ginsberg’s neatly decorative set and Anne Kauffman’s elegant direction lend the show a fairy-tale feel, as do the too-frequent references to The Wizard of Oz.
Somewhere Fun is a less focused work than Schwartz’s Vineyard debut, God’s Ear, in which grieving parents chatted up the tooth fairy and G.I Joe. But speech remains almost painfully lively throughout, playing on near rhymes like “haggard/ragged” and warped adages such as, “When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.” Themes and structure may spiral away from Schwartz, but this is a playwright never at a loss for words.