by Padraic Lillis · November 4, 2014
When we arrived on campus, it was incredibly exciting to see the college's newspaper article about the production and the project on the front page and director, Scott Hudson, was their spotlighted professor on the back page. There was a lot of excitement about the play and that was a thrill. However, the real thrill was in watching the cast bring the play to life. WOW! The cast, director and university as a whole did an amazing job.
It is clear that each of the actors has forged a strong connection with their characters and with one another in the ensemble to communicate the long-term relationships that the play requires. Each actor did a great job living moment to moment throughout the play. Seeing each moment filled with specific behavior is a great opportunity for the playwright to fully experience the world they have created. Lindsay was given that opportunity through the actors' excellent work. They are a tight ensemble.
Each actor truly caught the essence of their character. Upon entering they were immediately recognizable. There was one moment of revelation for Lindsay and I, and that was when Conner entered. Conner is a challenging part. He has the least clearly defined need and journey at the moment. There are elements in the script that inspire behavior and help to define him. But he seems hard to put your finger on. Then Mason Adams, who played Conner, entered and the character became immediately three dimensional and his essence was clear. There was something wonderfully off kilter about Mason' portrayal. Conner became confident and yet recognizably off balance at the same time. It was that odd mixture that made Mason's embodiment of the character so rich. He also seemed to have an understanding that what was driving Conner was a need that was being revealed to him in the moment. Watching this character accept things and move forward with a new focus was truly enlightening. Lindsay and I both saw who the character was or at least one way he could be portrayed.
Also, there was excellent staging that helped to tell the story. One of the final moments ,when the group of friends form a pile with one another - lending support, while the new comer, Brianna, sits alone of the couch, fully embodied the relationships beautifully. The production served the text very well and made everything work. Lindsay, however, did identify places where she wants to cut and expand some of the text. One of the great successes of the production is that it invited the audience into the characters' struggles and it revealed things about each that we are invested in and want to learn more about. I am grateful we are able to see the play a second time tomorrow. It will provide another opportunity to see structurally what elements want to be focused on in order to strengthen Lindsay's story. I look forward to seeing the play tomorrow and talking with Lindsay about what we learn.
My favorite part of tonight was meeting everyone involved.
Thank you Ashland!
Talk with you soon.