Colonial Players Two RoomsBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 9th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Colonial Players Theatre, Annapolis, MD
$20/$15 Seniors and Students
Playing through January 18th
Reviewed January 3, 2009
Two Rooms is a drama by Lee Blessing. In what was his study, the wife of an imprisoned hostage has created a room that approximates his cell – bare of furniture with a single mat on the floor. She comes here to be close to him as she struggles with his loss and her powerlessness against the walls of silence and inaction her government has built against her.
Talk about starting the new year with a bang! Colonial Players chose a powerful drama to begin 2009. Throughout the show, the entire audience was enthralled by the drama playing out. It was as still as a church as we all absorbed the lives of the couple dealing with their forced separation.
Michael Wells, played by Ben Carr, was in a literal prison somewhere in Lebanon. He was blindfolded for Act I, yet he described his situation through gestures and reenacting the beatings he had suffered. You could feel his discouragement over being in prison for so long, yet you could also hear the hope and love he felt for his wife Lanie, played by Heather Quinn. Quinn was steadfast in her resolve to win her husband’s release. However she was also in a prison of sorts, as she struggled with the US government on her decisions of how she could help her husband. At times, Quinn seemed to not get quite as angry at the situation as she could. At other times, her rage threatened to overpower herself. Her scenes with her husband were warm and believable.
Beth Terranova played the cold, stiff State Department representative Ellen van Oss. She had one scene where she was able to soften a bit, yet she was faithful to her country and would do anything to protect it. Finally the reporter Walker Harris, played by Terry Averill, was in the prison of balancing the humanity of being with Lanie and doing his job of reporting, and at times creating, the news. As Walker, Averill obviously wanted to get the word out and was frustrated beyond belief that he could not say whatever he wanted to to get Lanie’s husband released. Averill and Terranova seemed to circle each other like a cat and a mouse when they were on stage together.
Set Designer and Director Edd Miller made the sparse set seem very harsh and empty. In this case that was a good thing. The theater in the round was used as an integral part of the production, with Carr and Quinn being isolated from one another both by scripted space, and when they were sharing the space with each other, you could still feel the enormity of the space between them. The yellow and white lights, designed by Harvey Hack, which became harsh lights at some points, brought intensity and an urgency to the play.
This show is worth seeing and worth talking about afterwards. It runs just over two hours, with one intermission. It is playing through Sunday, January 18th. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees at 2 PM at the Colonial Players Theatre in Annapolis, Maryland. Once you’ve seen Two Rooms, please share your thoughts about it.
And now, on with the show.
I realize theater is a form of entertainment, but from its enception, theater has often been used to provoke as well as entertain. Colonial Players adjusted its slate and subscription system this year to allow for the inclusion of some works that might be more controversial and/or thought provoking. Two Rooms gave all of us involved in tonight’s production the opportunity to delve into the innermost sections of our hearts and minds. While trying to find the truth in the characters portrayed, we discovered many things about ourselves. Maybe you will to. We have kept true to the dates and statistics Lee Blessing included in his script, but we hope the set, with its desert camoflage and the use of current technology, will suggest more current situations around the world.
Two Rooms is a soft spoken, quiet, sledgehammer of a statement on kidnapping and terrorism. When kidnapping occurs, anywhere in the world, we are all affected, to some degree. We are all victims. Please, never forget about our hostage Brothers and Sisters.
Copyright 2009, Edd Miller, for Colonial Players.
- Michael Wells: Ben Carr
- Lanie Wells: Heather Quinn
- Walker Harris: Terry Averill
- Ellen Van Oss: Beth Terranova
- Director: Edd Miller
- Stage Manager: Herb Elkin
- Production Manager: Michael Gidos
- Set Design: Edd Miller
- Floor Painting: Fabian Amish, Edd Miller
- Lead Carpenter: Dick Whaley
- Carpenters: Lee Craft, Jim Robinson, Ted Yablonski
- Lighting design: Harvey Hack
- Lighting Assistants: Erin Hack, Laura Hack, James Hack
- Lighting Technicians: Karen McGady, JoAnn Gidos, Dottie Meggars, Jean Mincher
- Sound/Video Designer: Wed Bedsworth
- Sound Technicians: Wes Bedsworth, Mike Gidos, Jeff Starnes, Fred Taylor, Beverly Hill Van van Joolen
- Properties: Cornelia Watson
- Artistic Consultant: Carol Youmans
- Production Consultant: Dottie Meggers
- Photographic Research: Carl Andreasen
- Music selections: Julia Elkin
- Playbill/Poster Design: Jim Gallagher
- Photography: Colburn Images & R.A.R.E Photography
- Program editor: Tom Stuckey
- Lobby Display: Beverly Hill van Joolen
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2827.
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.