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31 January 2008

Oedipal (For)Play

From the "wnctheatre" blogger...

In the second production of NC Stage’s new (For)Play Series, director Ron Bashford took on the widely recognized but seldom actually seen Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles. Charles Flynn-McIver, no stranger to portraying royalty on this stage, brings us the titular role in the emotionally-charged, understated intensity that audiences will have come to expect after seeing Flynn-McIver in such roles as Hamlet and Macbeth. Other notable performances include Michael MacCauley as Creon, aptly handling the future king’s righteous indignation in the beginning of the play and his shift into almost paternal sympathy for Oedipus’ self-wrought plight at the end. Callan White-Hinman did a fine turn as Iocasta; her characterization seemed a little unfocused at first but gained solid momentum along with the events of the play.

Never having seen this (or any play of ancient Greece) actually staged, I’ve always been rather curious as to the logistics and dynamics of the chorus parts. Bashford chose to have the entire ensemble of the chorus speak many parts, but then to break up others into solo or duo voices, which aided in giving variety to a device which could have seemed monotonous. Varying his actors from a fairly young girl (Charlotte Lawrence) to adult males (with assorted ages of men and women in between) produced some really nice tonal shifts and combinations that wove themselves well into the tapestry of the production.

NC Stage really just keeps getting it right, bringing fresh performance ideas into Asheville’s theatre scene. I look forward to the remaining readers’ theatres in this series.

25 January 2008

Asheville Community Theatre thriller

Theater review: ‘Wait Until Dark’ powerful
by Tim Reid, take 5 correspondent
published January 25, 2008 12:15 am

ASHEVILLE — Asheville Community Theatre turns up the terror quotient in Frederick Knott’s classic thriller “Wait Until Dark.”

Susy Hendrix (Heather Johnson) is about as vulnerable as you can get — a blind woman at home alone in New York City who is besieged by three criminals determined to get a doll filled with heroin. Her husband Sam (Chris Martin) was given the doll on a business trip but has somehow misplaced it. The crooks figure his handicapped wife will be an easy prey to trick or coerce into surrendering it.

While Sam is away at work, Mike (Don Clancy) shows up pretending to be a friend of her husband.

Susy figures she needs a friend when police Sgt. Carlino (Alan Wohl) shows up asking questions about her husband and the now all-important doll. Her mounting alarm turns to terror when she is visited by the sinister-sounding Harry Roat (Charlie Passacantando).

Susy enlists an unlikely ally in her struggle to find out the truth — an exasperating but perceptive young girl from the upstairs apartment. Fourth-grader Lindsey Salvati nearly steals the show as Gloria, who darts in and out of Susy’s apartment at will, obviously enjoying the advantage that sight gives her over an adult.

Heather Johnson undergoes a marvelous transformation as Susy, who at first seems so vulnerable but then turns the tables on her attackers, using darkness as a weapon.

Many people will remember “Wait Until Dark” from the 1967 movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. Thanks to director Ralph Redpath and a strong cast, the stage version has lost none of its power.

Tim Reid reviews theater for the take5. He can be contacted at timreid4@charter.net.