After watching "Hope and Gravity" a couple of weeks ago at Creede Repertory Theatre, I was extremely interested in how Michael Hollinger's writing would differ in this production. This playwright is a writer. He deals in the same wheelhouse as David Mamet: simple, heartbreak, missed chances, tragedy, and almost-could-have-beens. Words, not flash, are his medium.
Both productions I've seen discuss writing and its pains; the waiting for inspiration, the rapid flow of words, the re-writes, the discussion about writing of others, critiques. Writing, the art and work; teaching about life itself.
As Myra Babbage, (Katie Kalahurka) explains, you wait for the words. They can come quickly like rain, or not at all for long periods.
Franklin Woolsey (Robert Gibby Brand), and wife Vivian (Jeannie Blau), bring nuance to the pain of loss, of pining for someone you cannot have, and losing someone's love, even before they've passed away.
This production, however, showcases Katie Kalahurka* in all the range and delivery that this production requires. Hers is a dangerous performance; too weepy or melancholy, it would've dipped into something ridiculous, not funny in the right places, the pain wouldn't have been sharp enough. She delivers with humor, and heartache, and it is perfection.
Sean Glass has created a lighting design that is its own character. Having to slip us between times, between Franklin Woolsey (Robert Gibby Brand) being alive and a ghost, was cued beautifully by the lighting. Harsh when Vivian (Jeannie Blau) was on set, softer when Franklin Woolsey and Myra Babbage were working, or dancing, I had to divide my attention between the beautiful design and the acting. I'll be sure to volunteer usher in the future so I get the chance to see Spinning Tree's future productions more than once. There is a lot to see, and much they should be proud of in their 2014-2015 season.
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Some (professional) reviews that tell it like it is:
*To the patron who decided to eat a bunch of candy and play with wrappers during Katie's last speech: if I find out who you are, I will drop a typewriter on your foot.