I am excited to officially announce that I will be stage managing diaspora, the sophomore effort of new local theatre company Half/Black Productions! This groundbreaking work is directed by Michael Hosp and performed by the talented Jonah D. Winston. It is devised by from the poetry of Saul Williams, "The Dead Emcee Scrolls, the Lost Teachings of Hip Hop".
Come check it out at the Indy Fringe Building
Loving this review from the Examiner!
'Norway' is spellbinding drama at its best
By Tom Alvarez
This Examiner Rates Norway "*****" (5 of 5 stars)
A co-world premiere with Boise Contemporary Theater,Norway, deals with such themes as fundamentalism, sexuality, friendship, predestination, family dynamics and others. Central to the play’s plot is one Beethoven’s iconic compositions which serves as an unlikely link in a story that is essentially a mystery.
Set initially in Lewiston, Idaho, Norway focuses on two Christian high school friends Brent and Andy who share confidences and become emotionally entangled. Later Brent becomes a teacher and travels from place to place, lecturing and playing reinventions of Beethoven’s “Pathétique” at different colleges, unaware that he is being followed by Andy. Taking place over a ten year period, the play also centers on the obsessive behavior of Andy's father who wants answers from Brent, following his son’s untimely death.
Superbly directed by Gordon McCall, this outstanding production, (viewed this past Sunday during a matinee performance), is an ideal showcase for the prodigious talents of three first-rate actors. They are Scot Greenwell who plays Brent, Matthew Goodrich as Andy, and Daniel Scharbrough who plays the role of Andy’s father, Mark.
Greenwell was effective in his depiction a self assured young man yearning for creative fulfillment, while coming to terms with his sexual identity. He was also equally believable as a somewhat embittered adult whose professional life has turned out to be much less that what he planned. The versatile Greenwell’s ability to switch back and forth between past and present in his characterization was skillful.
Playing a character torn between his rigid, fundamentalist upbringing and a desire to escape conventionality and constriction, Goodrich gave a penetrating performance that was nuanced and multi-faceted. Particularly notable was an infusion of mannerisms and speech patterns is his characterization of the adolescent Andy, that perfectly matched his best friend Brent’s (who has a crush on him) description of him as “adorable.” Also impressive was the emotional depth and intensity Goodrich brought to his role.
Completing this trio of fine performers was Scharbrough. His compelling portrayal of über conservative and authoritarian Mark, seeking to control his rebellious son and later intimidate and terrorize Brent, was powerful and sometimes shocking.
Also worthy of special mention is Nolan Brokamp’s efficient lighting design and James Gross’ pragmatic set which features a star field, white grand piano, car seat and other pieces that suggest various locations. Titles identifying cities and towns where the play’s action takes place are projected and also incorporated into the set design. It’s an ideal combination of production elements suitable for this presentation in the intimate 75-seat, cabaret-style black box theater.
Ultimately though, the main attraction in Norway is Hunter’s meaningful, unpredictable, marvelously constructed script, with its true-to-the-ear dialogue. So much so, that this riveting, ninety plus minute drama (with no intermission) seemed to fly by, leaving this reviewer yearning for more.
For more information about Norway or to purchase tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 317.635.7529. Tickets may also be purchased online. The theatre’s website is www.phoenixtheatre.org.
Our fantastic first review for Norway at the Phoenix Theatre!
www.phoenixtheatre.org for tickets/info
Jan 7, 2011 |
Written by Jay Harvey
'Norway'» When: 8 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Sunday, and 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 30.
» Where: Phoenix Theatre, 749 N. Park Ave.
» Tickets: $15 Thursdays, $25 Fridays-Sundays; call (317) 635-7529.
» Bottom line: Searing play about sexual identity and repression squarely confronts religious bias.
Everybody likes a good whodunit, but the scary mystery in Samuel Hunter's "Norway" points to the loftiest culprit. Uneasiness in flawed human beings with what they take to be "God's plan" for them becomes convulsive in the wrenching drama that opened Thursday night at the Phoenix Theatre.
The responsibility of accepting loved ones for who they are -- so easy to shrug off or swerve around -- gets extended scrutiny in a three-character play that gives no quarter to any religious doctrine that condemns homosexuality.
In one of his more obviously signaled parallels, Hunter suggests that pious resistance to "different" kinds of sexual identity may eventually seem as dated as pious defenses of slavery. The way through to that point will leave considerable destruction in its wake, he warns. "Norway" picks through the debris with a shrewd eye in the course of 100 agonizing minutes without intermission.
Dan Scarbrough plays Mark, a tightly wound fundamentalist minister belatedly caught up in finding out everything he can about his son, Andy (Matthew Goodrich), whose suicide by exposure in a wintry Walmart parking lot in Lewiston, Idaho, has both a nice banality to it and symbolic significance.
Like many eventual suicides, Andy has a schematic view of his life, in his case nurtured by old-time religion, and neatly devises a scenario that will make his demise seem logical. Part of the scenario is to stalk his gay boyhood friend, Brent (Scot Greenwell), a minor classical pianist pessimistic about his career choice, as he tours college towns in the Midwest and Northwest. Though Brent's view of bringing a fresh interpretive outlook to the piano repertoire is sophomoric, it may be the best way to keep his mental balance in a bigoted world.
The play keeps looking backward, but with a sense of violently surging forward motion that's oddly satisfying, despite our temptation to weep with the characters. Hunter is fond of teasing the audience, which learns just enough while being bludgeoned emotionally that no one is likely to feel one step ahead of the playwright.
Guest director Gordon McCall manages skillfully a turbulent dramatic motion that could easily have seemed cluttered. The three actors invest their roles with unstinting truth and passion about the characters' elusive or threatened identities.
All three are rigid, but Andy's inflexibility allows him to escape: With his long-past teenage rebellion already predestined and regard for his father bound up with the divine order, the only opening is toward a dimly remembered Norway, where his then-military family spent a few of his childhood years before God's plan started throttling him.
Call Star reporter Jay Harvey at (317) 444-6402.
Norway starts dress rehearsals today, and we open THIS Thursday!
Norway is directed by Gordon McCall at the Phoenix Theatre.
Starring Scot Greenwell, Daniel Scharbrough, and Matt Goodrich.
"Variations on friendships, families, and the healing power of forgiveness"
Ten years have passed since Brent and Andy shared their deepest secrets. Beethoven scholar Brent drifts from city to city performing and lecturing until he discovers Andy is following him. The time signature shifts from past to present to reveal how the boys’ relationship holds the key to Andy’s father, Mark, fulfilling his own obsession with the truth about his son.
Some fun details-
Theatre Community Day- Thurs, Jan 6. Help us welcome back Dan Scharbrough to the Phoenix stage and join us for a free reception with food and drink with your paid admission of $15 (thanks to Duke Energy!). See a wonderful production and mingle with other theatre artists. Curtain at 7pm.
Producer's Party- Fri, Jan 7. Join us in thanking YOU for supporting the Phoenix and the opening of Norway! A free reception with food and drink will follow the show with your paid admission of $25. Curtain at 8pm.
AfterWords- Our free, casual, post-play discussion series on all four Sundays during the run of Norway! Speakers include:
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