Elden Street Players The Iceman ComethBy Laura & Mike Clark • Feb 5th, 2007 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Elden Street Players’ production of the Iceman Cometh [MP3 5:17 1.5MB].
Mike: The Iceman Cometh is a play written by Eugene O’Neill. It takes place in the back room of Harry Hope’s bar in 1912. There is a group of regulars who have gathered and dream about what they will do tomorrow. They are waiting for a traveling salesman to come in so they can plan a surprise party for the bar owner Harry. The salesman comes in and tells them they should stop dreaming and start doing what they’re wanting to do.
Laura: I thought this show was overall depressing, yet kind of realistic. But the biggest thing I thought was that it was four hours long. I realize that was the writing so they had no control over over that. You’ve got a bunch of men half drunk sitting in a bar for four hours. Not a lot of comedy going on there.
Mike: This is a hard show to get through. It was four hours long. I don’t want to focus on the length of the show. Elden Street really doesn’t have a lot of control over how long the show is. They did cut out one role which did shorten it a bit. The show was overall well acted. The set was nice.
Laura: When we heard it was going to be in a bar, I was expecting tables and chairs and a bar. Kind of like when Elden Street did The Weir or Providence Players did The Time of Your Life. It was more like a meeting room in the back of the bar.
Mike: The actors overall gave strong performances. Michael Kharfen as Theodore Hickman, also known as Hickey, gave a superb performance with very long monologues. He was the liveliest of the group. His job was a traveling salesman and he just oozed salesman. He was selling hope to the people in the bar. He was selling them encouragement that they can get out and stop dreaming, that they should go out and do what they have been dreaming about.
Laura: Larry Slade was played by Scott Bailey. He also gave a good strong performance. He was the straight man, the philosopher. Probably the most depressing of everybody there. He kind of kept everybody together.
Mike: It was interesting. All the characters had hopes and dreams that they were going to do tomorrow. “I’m gonna get that job back.” Or “I’m gonna go back to visit my family in South Africa.” Or “I’m just going to wait for death.” Which is what Larry Slade was doing. Then Hickey told him,” Are you going to be strong enough to jump off that balcony? If you’re wanting to go to death, go to it.” There were lots of conflicts in this show. The characters took a good while to get introduced at the
beginning of the show. It took over an hour for the barflies to really be introduced, to get comfortable with them.
Laura: This was from the standpoint of Eugene O’Neill watching an evening in a bar so it took awhile introduce everybody. It took a while for all the characterizations to come out and for everybody to get to know everybody.
Mike: The group in the bar already knew each other. They were very used to each other and very accepting of whatever their problem was. Such as not being employed or being fired from the police force or being drunk all the time. They all accepted that. To not be drunk was unthinkable so it was a strong shift later in the play when they came down sober and said, “I’m going to go out and get my job back.” It was kind of hopeful that maybe they are going to go out and their job. They turn their keys back to Rocky the bartender (played by Michael Sherman). It was kind of hopeful, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “There is no way they’re all going to get their jobs back.”
Laura: The realism set in and what we thought would happen happened. They all started coming back in. They all had good excuses for why they didn’t get the job, but they all slowly came back in and started drinking.
Mike: They were also very self centered with what was happening with them. Not to give any of it away, but the part at the very end with Don and Larry was kind of expected. It was foreshadowed very effectively, but the people at the bar were just not concerned about it.
Laura: The Iceman Cometh is playing through February 17th. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sunday, the 11th at 7 PM at the Industrial Strength Theatre in Herndon, Virginia.
Mike: Be aware this show is four hours long. There were two intermissions. The show is appropriate for older high schoolers. Be aware with the length of the show there are issues about how you pick your destiny and how you dream. There will be lots of good topics for discussion afterwards.
Laura: This was a complex show. It will make you think. Once you’ve seen the show, feel free to leave a comment on our website, ShowBizRadio.net and let us know what you thought of it.
Mike: And now, on with the show.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1852.
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.