Providence Players Rough CrossingBy Laura & Mike Clark • Oct 14th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Providence Players’ production of Rough Crossing [MP3 3:28 3.2MB].
Lee Center, Falls Church, VA
$15/$12 Seniors and Students
Through October 25th
Rough Crossing is a comedy by Tom Stoppard. Aboard a passenger liner preparing to steam from England to New York, two playwrights desperately try to complete a new play and save the relationship between their all-important composer and his love, the leading lady, despite the interference of a lothario actor.
This was a great comedy performed well by experienced actors. There is joy in working and reviewing live theater since every night is a new experience. Sometimes the performance hits a snag and it’s up to the actors to smooth out the situation and go on. They did that with ease and finesse Friday night. The set was also extremely creative and innovative.
John Coscia performed well as Gal, a playwright who was trying to get his latest masterpiece The Cruise of the Dodo off the ground. His character was laid back and easy going. His distraction by the free ship’s buffet did not prevent him from correcting his actors in their rehearsal. The other playwright was Turai, played wonderfully by Patrick David. Turai was harried and frustrated. He had a good albeit tense relationship with his play’s actors Ivor and Natasha. Ivor, the spoiled actor and wannabe ladies man, was played ably by Larry Craven. His smooth gestures and sophisticated attitude made you want to smack him sometimes.
The ingénue Natasha was played by Lolita-Marie. Her performance during the rehearsal scenes in Act II made her very likeable, and she sang well. Mike Mattheisen‘s performance as the ill-at-ease composer Adam Adam was spot on. He was in love with Natasha, but got tongue tied when the two of them were together. He was also moody and seemed to swing from to suicide to melancholy. The steward Dvornicheck, played by Craig Geoffrion, gave a very funny performance. He had the best facial expressions while attempting to deliver drink orders to the passengers.
The set for Rough Crossing was amazing. The first act took place in two adjacent cabins. An effective lighting design by Jimmy Gertzog kept the audience’s focus on the appropriate areas of the stage. There were several railings along the front edge of the stage that were a bit distracting to audience members in the front two rows. The second act was an entirely different set, made up of a lounge area with a real piano and a chandelier. The Set Designer was by John Coscia.
Sometimes the piano sound effects were too loud and drowned out the singers. Mike Mattheisen and Larry Craven were most difficult to hear while singing. During the opening night performance there was one significant dramatic pause in the Second Act. Apparently one of the actors made a costume change one scene too early, requiring the rest of the on-stage cast to work their way out of trouble, which they did with a minimum amount of fuss.
Rough Crossing ran two hours and 15 minutes with one intermission. It is playing through October 25. Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 pm. Sunday matinees on the 12th and 19th at 2 PM at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Virginia.
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And now, on with the show.
It’s hard to believe that after I read Rough Crossing for the first time, I thought to myself, “This isn’t very funny.” I almost turned down the opportunity to direct it. I am so glad to be “on-board” working with such a talented and committed cast and production team.
As you will come to find out, Rough Crossing is not the intriguing Stoppard of Hapgood, the romantic Stoppard of Shakespeare in Love or the whimsically and clever Stoppard of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Rough Crossing is just “fun.” In fact, one critic described the production as “Stoppard on vacation.”
In fact Rough crossing is just that – an adaptation of a farce written by Ferenc Molnar in 1925 and later adapted by P.G. Wodehouse in The Play’s the Thing. Nothing deep, nothing profound and nothing complicated (except for the plot within the plot – good luck on “tacking it”).
So, as Dvornichek would say, grab your “paddle” hold onto your “life-jackets” as we man our “panic stations” – I mean our “life boat stations.” As Turai puts it, we hope you enjoy the stock characters, the stock situations and the stock economy of expression. “We are gld you have joined us for this “rough crossing.” Enjoy the show!
- Gal: John Coscia
- Ivor: Larry Craven
- Turai: Patrick David
- Dvornicheck: Craig Geoffrion
- Natasha: Lolita-Marie
- Adam: Mike Mattheisen
- Director: David Whitehead
- Assistant Sirector: Tina Thronson
- Technical Director: Jimmy Gertzog
- Tech Crew: Mark Ames, Josh Whitehead
- Musical Director: Michael Ehrlich
- Stage Manager: Chip Gertzog
- Assistant Set Manager: Sarah Mournighan
- Stage Crew: Jimmy Gertzog, Josh Whitehead, Mark Ames
- Producer: Janet Bartelmay
- Set Design & Construction: John Coscia
- Set Crew: Janet Bartelmay, Nick Bayer, Sarah Bennett, Tim Brown, TomCoscia, Larry Craven, Patrick David, Chris Deering, Craig Geoffrion, Debbie Geoffrion, Chip Gertzog, Jim Gertzog, Kevin Harnisch, Beth Harrison, Tania-Hossain-Almaraz, Mike Mattheisen, Carl Schwartz, David Schwartz, Janet Shadle, Robbie Snow, Scott Stone, Al Thompson, Tina Thronson, Bill VanderClute, Beth Whitehead, David Whitehead
- Lighting and Sound Design: Jimmy Gertzog
- Prop Master: Sue Winfield, Debbie Geoffrion
- Properties Assistant: Susan Kaplan
- Set Painting: Craig Geoffrion, Jayne L. Victor, Ali Zaikouk
- Set Decoration & Dressing: Jayne L. Victor, Ali Zaikouk
- Costume Design: Beth Whitehead
- Costume Assistants: Claire Whitehead
- Seamstresses: Araxi Vann, Beth Hughes-Brown
- Hair & Make-up Design: Beth Harrison, Robbie Snow
- Hair & Make-up Assistant: Mary Francis Dini
- House Management: Ann & Matt Ames
- Publicity: Gail Seavey, Barbara & Chip Gertzog
- Playbill: Cindy Paska
- Playbill Advertising: John Coscia, Tina Thronson, Cindy Paska
- Photographer: Chip Gertzog
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2548.
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.