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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Berger's Joint: "Hair," at the District Theatre through April 28 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 15 April 2013 06:02

Chris Causer and Bryan Tank in HairUnder no circumstances would I publicly suggest that you indulge in mind-altering substances before seeing the District Theatre’s Hair. I would, however, recommend that you ask for a hit of whatever actor Chris Causer is high on – even if it’s just the exhilaration of performing – because, clearly, its side effects include having, and giving, the time of your life.

Miller Time: "Death of a Salesman," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through April 21 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 April 2013 06:01

Jim Driscoll and Dana Moss-Peterson in Death of a SalesmanThe Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Death of a Salesman marks one of James Driscoll’s most powerful, effective, fully realized performances to date, which is saying a lot given the actor’s résumé, which includes roles such as Long John Silver in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s Treasure Island and his multiple characters in last year’s Anton in Show Business for New Ground Theatre. During Friday’s presentation, I was awed by Driscoll’s ability to shift from sanity to a mental confusion bordering on insanity as his Willy Loman transitioned from his vision of his past to a moment in the present. Driscoll accomplishes this both through physical gestures, such as rubbing his head as if sweating, and vocal inflection, as his voice becomes more frantic and emotional during his state of confusion.

Pitch Imperfect: "Blue Sky Merchants," at Scott Community College through April 20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 April 2013 06:00

John R. Turner and Isaac Scott in Blue Sky MerchantsScott Community College’s Blue Sky Merchants is an interesting idea that doesn’t reach its potential, mainly due to its absence of subtlety. Local playwright and actor John R. Turner’s play about a man (simply named Deskman, and played by Turner) who listens to, and then green-lights or rejects, ideas for television shows could be a poignant commentary on modern society's tastes in entertainment. Yet while Turner has a laudable knack for dialogue, Thursday’s production left me with too-little question as to his intended message, mainly because his Deskman character clearly states the author's intent, rather than allowing the audience to decipher it.

Repertory Stories: New Ground Theatre’s Playwrights Festival, April 19 through 28 at the Village Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 08:10

author Dana-Moss Peterson (left), with Jessica Denney, in New Ground Theatre's Mr. MarmaladeOver the years, Davenport’s New Ground Theatre has prided itself on the presentation of new works by emerging authors. But this year, even Artistic Director Chris Jansen is shocked to find the company not only producing eight new works in a season, but eight new works – the majority of them by local authors – over a two-night span.

Palpable Pain: "Antigone," through March 30 at the Quad City Theatre Workshop PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Thursday, 28 March 2013 09:33

Gini Atwell and Jake Walker. Photo by Tracy Skaggs.Before the production officially begins and without uttering a single word, Gini Atwell effectively sets the tone for the Prenzie Players’ Antigone. On Friday evening, during the ad-libbed pre-show that’s a staple of Prenzie productions, Atwell sat at the front of the stage, half-cradling her knees while wearing a far-off look in her eyes and a deep sadness on her face, as though lost in thought on woeful memories or circumstances.

Not long after the play begins, it’s made clear that Atwell’s expression is due to her character’s resignation to her own death. She is passionate during the course of the play – particularly as she attempts to garner her sister’s help in burying their brother (who lost his life in battle with their other brother for the throne of Thebes), and as she embraces her fiancé as if it’s the last time they’ll ever hold each other. But her ability to maintain the cheerlessness at the core of her Antigone is remarkable, creating a palpable pain that’s punctuated by her inevitable death.

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