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Little Theatre of Alexandria The Visit

By • Nov 1st, 2010 • Category: Reviews
The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt
Little Theatre of Alexandria
Little Theatre of Alexandria, Alexandria, VA
Through November 13th
2:30 with one intermission
$17-$20
Reviewed October 27th, 2010

The Visit is a play in three acts written by Friedrich Durrenmatt. It tells the story of a woman who was publicly humiliated by her childhood sweetheart and returns years later to the same town to see that justice (revenge?) is done.

One thing you can generally rely on is that the Little Theatre of Alexandria will produce high quality theatre. Unfortunately, The Visit does not live up to that expectation. The Visit‘s depressing story line really doesn’t affect that opinion, as there are many moments of gold within the script. Most of the acting was flat. There were several segments of scenes with actors facing away from the audience so we couldn’t see their face or hear them clearly. Several actors mumbled their lines even when they were facing out.

Even Margaret Bush who played the lead as Claire Zachanassian never broke out of her shell, but remained stiff and withdrawn. Madam Zachanassian is such a juicy role, and Bush was able to portray the jilted lover well, but overall came across as too bitter and not relishing the situation she put into motion in Gullen. Steve Lada as Anton Schill seemed to accept his lot in life far too readily. Should he not have gotten angry when his family started acting like the people of Gullen? There wasn’t much depth to his performance. At the top of the third act there was a scene at the barn that had the potential to become a real “ah-ha” moment as Clara revealed how deep her machinations went. Yet the scene was perfunctory, with the two townspeople shaken by the revelation, and they still did nothing. Some kind of reaction beyond shock would have been appropriate.

Some of Director William D. Parker’s casting decisions were interesting as well. For example, both the doctor (played by Rebecca Fischler) and the Teacher (Robert King), who was referred to as the Professor in the script, were too young. This could be attributed to casting who shows up for auditions, but even graying both the teacher’s and the doctor’s hair would have helped make their positions more believable. Another problem was the sound effects, which were too soft at times. This is problematic especially as a portion of the scenes at the train station are supposed to be drowned out by a passing train, yet the train sounds started late and weren’t overpowering. Diedra Nicholson-Lamb’s set design was extremely creative, featuring many different locations, inclduing a balcony, train station, store, forest and barn. Some masking was needed backstage as the audience could see fire exits through open doors. It was also odd that later in the play the train station no longer had its facilities on stage left.

There was a lot of potential for this production of The Visit; unfortunately it just did not live up to expectations.

Director’s Notes

I chose The Visit because of the wonderful combination of dark comedy and tragic drama: that a woman would exact revenge on the man who wronged her many years ago in such a public manner; that the town says its supports the accused man in word, but in deed is ready to hang him for the money; that the man resigns himself to his fate with pride an dignity; all of this speaks to the tragicomic nature we all experience in our human condition. I just pray that in my later years I am not visited by someone I have wronged in the past… but to be the visitor. I can name a few who have wronged me. Now to amass my millions!

William D. Parker
Director

Photo Gallery

Lloyd Bittinger (Conductor, background), Erik Harrison (Husband), Margaret Bush (Claire), Bernard Engel (Mayor, behind Margaret), James Ginther (Pries Todd Lawson (Bodyguard), Steve Lada (Anton Schill), Kea Allis (Person of Gullen), James Ginther (Priest), Margaret Bush (Claire), Robert King (Teacher
Lloyd Bittinger (Conductor, background), Erik Harrison (Husband), Margaret Bush (Claire), Bernard Engel (Mayor, behind Margaret), James Ginther (Pries
Todd Lawson (Bodyguard), Steve Lada (Anton Schill), Kea Allis (Person of Gullen), James Ginther (Priest), Margaret Bush (Claire), Robert King (Teacher
C. Evans Kirk (Eunuch, background), Steve Lada (Anton Schill), Margaret Bush (Claire), Bernard Engel (Mayor) Kristi Faye (Daughter), Steve Lada (Anton Schill), Erik Harrison (Son)
C. Evans Kirk (Eunuch, background), Steve Lada (Anton Schill), Margaret Bush (Claire), Bernard Engel (Mayor)
Kristi Faye (Daughter), Steve Lada (Anton Schill), Erik Harrison (Son)
Erik Harrison (Husband), Margaret Bush (Claire), Steve Lada (Anton Schill)
Erik Harrison (Husband), Margaret Bush (Claire), Steve Lada (Anton Schill)

Photos by Doug Olmsted for the Little Theatre of Alexandria.

Cast

  • Claire Zachanassisn: Margaret Bush
  • Husband(s): Erik Harrison
  • Butler/Boby: Teddy Gron
  • Eunuch/Koby: C. Evans Kirk
  • Anton Schill: Steve Lada
  • Wife: Megan Murphy
  • Son: Erik Harrison
  • Daughter: Kristi Faye
  • Mayor: Bernard Engel
  • Priest: James Ginther
  • Teacher: Robert King
  • Doctor: Rebecca Fischler
  • Police Chief: Marcia Carpentier
  • Bodyguards: Arlando Duran, Wilber Osman Flores, Todd Lawson, Paul Morton
  • Persons of Gullen: Bret Alexander, Kea Allis, Lloyd Bittinger, Lori Brooks, Terry Gish, Sara Warner

Crew

  • Producers: Heather Franklin and Mary Ayala-Bush
  • Director: William D. Parker
  • Stage Managers: Charles Dragonette and Sheila Price
  • Set Design: Diedra (De) Nicholson-Lamb
  • Set Decoration: Betty Dolan and Leslie Reed
  • Set Construction: Chris Feldman
  • Set Painting: Diedra (De) Nicholson-Lamb
  • Assisted by: Bev Benda, Luana Bossolo, Pat Bradford, Joanna Henry, Marian Holmes, Ana and Gary Rasmussen, Margaret Snow, Jana Lee Sponberg, Anne Vroom, Emma Vroom, Jack Vroom
  • Lighting Design: William Walsh
  • Assisted by: Ken and Patti Crowley
  • Master Electrician: Eileen Doherty
  • Assisted by: Geoff Baskir, Lesley Buckles, Kristy Dyson, Rachel Lau, Pam Leonowich, Micheal O’Connor, Nancy Owens, Richard Schwab
  • Sound Design: David Correia
  • Assisted by: Keith Bell, Dylan Connor, Margaret Evans-Joyce
  • Property Design: Marcia Carpentier
  • Assisted by: Bret Alexander, Lyn Vencus, Eleni Aldridge, Phil Campbell, Sharon Dove, Carol Hutchinson, Rebecca Johnson, Ken Lobenstein, Jum Palumbo, Carol Steele, Annie Vroom
  • Costume Design: Joan A. S. Lada
  • Assisted by: Nichole Zuchetto
  • Wardrobe: Margaret Snow
  • Assisted by: Barbara Helsing, Megan Murphy, Sherry Singer, Annie Vroom
  • Makeup and Hair Design: Bette Williams
  • Rigging: Russell Wyland
  • Photographer: Doug Olmsted
  • Assisted by: Ari McSherry
  • Auditions: Margaret Snow, Barbara Helsing, and Jamie Blake
  • Double Tech Dinner: Robin Parker
  • Opening Night Party: Mary and Peter Okonski

Disclaimer: Little Theatre of Alexandria provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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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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