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Springfield Community Theatre Spoon River Anthology

By • May 24th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Spoon River Anthology
Springfield Community Theatre
The New School, Fairfax, VA
$18/$15 Seniors and Students
Playing through May 31st
Reviewed May 22nd, 2009

SCT’s production of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, conceived, adapted and arranged by Charles Aidman, was an entertaining look at some of the lives of the people buried in the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois. Originally a collection of poems written in 1915, Aidman added music and reordered the presentation of the poems. SCT performed the anthology well, with Jon Roberts on guitar, Maria Mercedes Benzie as the lead singer, and the rest of the cast (Cassandra Newman, Alexander Green, Calvert Whitehurst, Don Williams, and Mollie Wise) playing multiple roles.

The intimate space of the black box theater of the New School in Fairfax, Virginia was used effectively by Adriana Hardy, the production’s director. Actors made eye contact with the audience as they told their stories, making us feel like we were hearing deep, dark secrets (and occasionally we were!) Costumes by Farrell Anne M. Hartigan were a significant accomplishment. They were mostly earth tones, with splashes of color for emphasis. With most actors playing at least eight different characters, the costumes were a huge help in defining each role. The actors did excellent work in interpreting each character. Costume, vocal inflections, and other decisions helped each role to be unique.

The second act started with a very funny song, “Drunk as I Can Be” (or “Three Nights Drunk”) sung by a trio of men and pair of women. But this humorous song was the exception, as most of the scenes were more serious. Indeed, it would have been useful to have had more time to reflect on each scene before the next scene began. Unfortunately, by the time you’ve absorbed one scene, the next scene has already started. The live performance of these poems does lose some of its impact by losing the ability to reflect on the passages. But SCT has given an admirable effort at sharing these stories.

Cast

  • Maria Mercedes Benzie (Lead Singer)
  • Cassandra Newman
  • Alexander Green
  • Jon Roberts (Guitarist)
  • Calvert Whitehurst
  • Don Williams
  • Mollie Wise

Crew

  • Producer: Don Neal
  • Director: Adriana Hardy
  • Co-Producer: Anita Gardner
  • Costume Designer: Farrell Anne M. Hartigan
  • Lighting Designer: Chris Hardy
  • Lighting Technicians: Robert and Amanda Kraus
  • Box Office Assistant: Laura Newman
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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.

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