Ambassador Theater Out At SeaBy Courtney Ferguson • Jun 24th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Flashpoint-Black Box Theater, Washington DC
Through July 16th
Reviewed June 22nd, 2009
Three men stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean are hungry and tired of waiting. They want food and they want it now. What will they do to satisfy their hunger on this raft with no resources? Their appetites are strong, and the men do what they must in order to survive. As the play moves along, there comes a point where everyone is seemingly happy and satisfied, depending on how you look at it. Needless to say, the ending will leave you fairly perplexed, in the same way the movie Dogville by Lars Von Trier left people scratching their heads trying to figure out the true message. One minute you think you have got it, the next you may even be a little offended, but the most important thing is that you are thinking. And that is the intent? To make a point, and at the same time never quite get to the point, which forces you to come to your own conclusion. Within the lines of absurd theatre, the playwright’s message on human nature and the will to survive is backed by a bitter political undertone.
Out At Sea–written by Polish Playwright Sławomir Mrożek–is the Ambassador Theatre’s premiere production performed at the Flashpoint Theatre in Washington D.C. Director Hanna Bondarewska has generated a production that is both haunting and powerful. The intimate space forced awareness to the message of the play. The set seemed to fill up a space that is considerably small, creating a larger than life effect.
This play could not be done without a cast of actors who have an intricate understanding of the characters that they portray. While all questions may not be answered, their understanding is what brings such depth to the script. The three main characters played by David Bryan Jackson, Stephen Shetler, and Rob Weinzimer did not have names; they were considered to be “thin, medium, and fat.” Through physical and vocal expression, the notion of these words was brought to life. I applaud all three actors for embodying “their word,” with the complexity that is necessary for a piece such as this. This must have been a very exciting and challenging concept for the actors to grasp, revealing deeper meanings within the process. Delivering an equally notable performance, T. Anthony Quinn played minor roles throughout the production. His presence delivers a message that seems to be overlooked by the men on the raft.
To say that director Hanna Bondarewska is happy to be premiering Out At Sea at the Flashpoint Theatre would be an understatement. She is ecstatic and has good reason. Out At Sea is a play with a message that still stands strong today, despite the fact that it was written over forty years ago. She has opened the eyes of many theatre fans, to international playwriting that many are not too familiar with. Ambassador Theatre is new on the scene, but their message is both exciting and innovative. I sincerely enjoyed this production, and recommend it to anyone who would like to expand their theatrical repertoire, and explore all perceptions of theatre. After all, as theatre goers, that is our responsibility.
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Courtney Ferguson is currently a student in the theatre arts program at Howard University pursuing a B.F.A in acting. Her plans are to go on to grad school to study Voice and Speech. Her credits include work on and off the stage, and she can be seen in the upcoming production of The Laramie Project with the Providence Players.