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Kea Trevett and Christine Farrell in SMART at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater 2024
Photo Credit: Michael & Suz Karchmer  

There’s no way around it. We are all going to get old some day, and chances are when that happens, we will need to lean on the people who love us. And they will want to take care of our needs, truly they will, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy for them… or for us. In Mary Elizabeth Hamilton’s play Smart, Elaine (Kea Trevett) must care for her mother, Ruth (Christine Farrell), who has dementia. A loving daughter, Elaine does what she can, but as she spends nearly all her time either working or caring for her mother, she has no time for a social life or even just a moment to herself. 

In an effort to balance her own life better, she gets her mom a “Jenny,” a Siri-like device (voiced by Sasha Diamond), monitored by a human software developer named Gabby (Blair Baker), who is working to make its artificial intelligence better. But as time goes on, Gabby’s access to the private moments of both Ruth and Elaine lead her to cross an ethical line, and that’s where Smart becomes a play about the ethics of AI, our willingness to give access to our privacy to companies simply because they are convenient, and perhaps even a cultural shift in morality to where what many of us think of as obviously wrong now will one day be just the norm.

The play is well-acted, with a cast of all female characters, all very different, but each one struggling with loneliness of modern life and the fear it engenders. Farrell skillfully portrays the confusion and pain Ruth has, finding herself in a situation no one wants to be in. Trevett’s Elaine is suitably anxious and stressed out, only experiencing joy in those brief moments of lucid conversation with her mother and in her developing relationship with Gabby. And Baker takes on her role of the awkward, somewhat depressed, and also ethically confused Gabby with natural youthful charm. 

Set designer Ant Ma convincingly divides the stage into three different settings at once, to allow for a seamless presentation of multiple locations at once. And special mention needs to be made of the lighting (Christina Watanabe) and sound design (ien DeNio), which are inspired by digital aesthetics and envelope us in the themes of a world in which AI and digital life have become larger than anything else as a backdrop to human interactions. The play asks what are we willing to give up for the convenience of technology. It asks can humans be trusted to navigate the new moral and ethical questions that are being raised. Director Jess Chayes’ overall vision of Hamilton’s play is both emotionally moving and very funny, perfectly mimicking the reality of dementia, care-giving, and the Internet Age.

Smart is onstage Thursdays – Saturdays, 7 p.m. and Sundays, 3 p.m. through June 23 at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, 2357 Rte. 6, Wellfleet. For tickets ($45 ($41.50 seniors, $15 students; balcony – partial view, $15) and information call 508.349.9428 or visit

—Rebecca M. Alvin

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Graphic Artist

Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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