Coyote on a FenceBy Laura & Mike Clark • Apr 9th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of Silver Spring Stage’s performance of Coyote on a Fence [MP3 5:06 4.7MB]; or read the transcript.
Laura: Coyote on a Fence opened tonight at the Silver Spring Stage in Silver Spring Maryland.
Mike: Coyote on a Fence is a play written by Bruce Graham. It’s the story on two inmates on death row in the southern United States. They’re very different people and they learn to be friends over the course of their time on death row. I found this to be a very good storty. This is one of the best shows we’ve seen.
Laura: Yes, I was very impressed by it. It was very thought provoking. You had a lot to talk about and discuss on the way home.
Mike: Whatever your opinions are of the death penalty, this show will air a lot of the thoughts on both sides of the issue.
Laura: I liked the set very much. It was a simple set containing two prison cells. The prison guard had kind of a break away area where she talked to a reporter. Finally there was a table and chairs set up for a New York Times reporter to interview one of the inmates. It was a simple, but effective set. I was impressed with the chain link fence was used to separate the inmates during their recreation time.
Mike: The way they used the stage was very efficient. Each had its own little area with lighting. Even though there were no walls except for the prison cells, you felt there were walls. The lighting was very effective and definitely enhanced the show. The sound also was very effective. There was background noise of the prison that was always on, but not distracting. It was just a murmur in the background. There were times when the sound stopped and that was important, but the rest of the time it was a low murmur.
Laura: I thought all of the actors did well. I liked Shawna DuChamps played by Audrey Cefaly. She was the prison guard for the two inmates. She was kind of the comedy relief, but at the same time did struggle with things. (Editor’s note: The character of the prison guard struggled, not the actress.)
Mike: She was no nonsense, but friendly toward John. However she took no guff from him and even had to put him in his place a couple times. The role of the New York Times reporter, Sam Fried, was played by Brendan Murray. He did a good job. He was off stage doing some reading and at other times interviewing John about his prison newspaper. It was good to bring in another perspective. Sam and John had a discussion half way through the show where John was upset because Sam had published more information about some of the prisoners who had been executed. Sam fought back and said he doesn’t want those people to hurt my family. The quote he used was, “We aren’t the bad guys just because we want to protect ourselves.” I liked the way the word “we” was used. It could have meant “we” the public or “we” the Jews. It was left open to interpretation. It was important to the show and the way he used that interpretation.
Laura: I also liked Bobby Reyburn plaed by Darius Suziedelis. He was a white supremecist who commited a heinous crime, but was ok with it because God told him to commit the crime. He had a lot of expression in his reaction to John. He had a lot of emotion. He fully believed what he did was right.
Mike: And that drove John crazy. “I don’t care if you think you did it, file an appeal because every time you don’t file an appeal, someone gets closer to the death chamber.” To Bobby it didn’t matter. To him it just meant he would be up in heaven sooner. That drove John crazy. John was played by Andrew Greenleaf. He did a really good job. It was a complex role. He had wantings and feelings for his ex-wife and his daughter as well as frustrations with his daughter. He had frustration and anger at the media including the New York Times reporter. He pulled it all off really well. It showed through his face. He was in a limited area and couldn’t walk around so had no freedom of movement. Again he did a really good job.
Laura: I enjoyed the show very much. There is a lot of adult language and mature themes so probably ok for high school and up.
Mike: The show is an hour and 45 minutes long withh no intermission. It is highly recommended, you have got to go see this show. Coyote on a Fence is playing at the Silver Spring Stage through April 30th. I would give them a call or go to their website to get reservations.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.