The Heritage-O’Neill Theatre Company Requiem for a HeavyweightBy Mari Davis • Feb 2nd, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Heritage-O’Neill Theatre Company
The Randolph Road Theatre, Silver Spring, MD
Through February 19th
2:10 with one intermission
$28-$30 General/$25-28 Seniors/$20 Students
Reviewed January 29th, 2011
The Heritage-O’Neill Theatre Company’s production of Requiem for a Heavyweight had some very good things going for it. Director Karey Faulkner designed a great show, but inexplicably slow transitions and inattention to detail dragged the quality down.
Requiem is about a boxer, “Mountain” McClintock, whose once-impressive career draws to an abrupt close after fourteen years of fighting. His manager, Maish Resnick, finds himself struggling with debts incurred by a bum bet. Mountain feels he owes it to Maish to pay him back, but quickly realizes that he has a very limited, mostly unmarketable skill set. Maish must get the money and Mountain must find himself before the debt is called in.
The stage was set very simply, divided into four sections that included three established scenes and a neutral area to enlarge the acting space. This versatile device was generally used well, not distracting the audience except once or twice when actors took themselves out of scene by drifting into the shadows.
The two-man technical crew was black-out happy. Requiem started with a good half-minute of blackout for no apparent reason. Minimal scene changes, wherein actors moved five set pieces at most, dragged on because the set had to go to black before the next scene. Bring up the lights and go on with the show. The stage also went black following the curtain call as actors exited into a well-lighted stairwell to the right of the stage, which looked tacky. It would have been better to leave the lights up and see the actors leave, than to draw so much attention to them.
There’s no costume credit in the program, so I can only assume that actors designed their own costumes. For the most part this was fine — gangsters looked like gangsters and schmucks looked like schmucks — but in a play full of caricatures, the prostitute looked nothing like a prostitute. The boxers wore sweats, the whore wore a business suit. The incongruity was very distracting and took away from the production quality.
The third failing of this show stemmed from a lack of attention to detail. In the first five minutes, any boxer’s sensibilities would have been affronted by the non-attempt to wrap the hands of the professional boxer. In the various bar scenes, bottles were different sizes and obviously only half-filled. The cheesiness of the props would be diminished with labels to disguise the obvious staging.
Requiem is described by Rod Serling, the playwright, as a collection of clichés. Faulkner’s cast definitely did a great job of creating caricatures. Special mention goes to Robert Christie as Leo Loomis, George Tamerlani as Pirelli whose performances were at once over-the-top and believable.
Frank Vince as Maish Resnick gave a very dynamic and compelling performance. His character’s desperation was well balanced by his nostalgia for better times. Sean Coe as Mountain McClintock was sweet and simple, but oddly prone to fits of passion that didn’t seem to fit his character. Dexter Hamlett as Army, a retired boxer and McClintock’s corner man, gave a superior performance, getting the first laugh and demonstrating superb silent acting skills. Amy Rauch as McClintock’s love-interest, Grace Miller, gave a charming performance, providing a lovely counterpoint to Coe’s McClintock.
The Heritage-O’Neill Theatre Company’s Requiem for a Heavyweight wasn’t a knock-out, but it put on a good show. If you are a fighter, don’t expect too much in the way of realistic details. Requiem for a Heavyweight is enjoyable if one likes the genre, but not superb.
- Maish Resnick: Frank Vince
- Mountain McClintock: Sean Coe
- Army: Dexter Hamlett
- Grace Miller: Amy Rauch
- Golda: Hilary Kacser
- Leo Loomis: Robert Christie
- The Doctor: Sam McCrea
- Charlie, the Bartender: Sam McCrea
- Pirelli: George Tamerlani
- Max Greeny: David Segal
- Morrell: Shawn Golanski
- ‘The Kid’: Brent Bauer
- Director, Co-Lighting Director, Music Designer: Karey Faulkner
- Lighting Designer, Sound Designer, Technician: Benjamin Fan
Disclaimer: The Heritage-O’Neill Theatre Company provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6149.
Mari Davis is a student of Speech and Communication at Northern Virginia Community College. She has been involved in the performing arts since the age of five when she debuted as the Little Red Hen on an elementary school stage. Her career includes both national and international ensemble performances with semi-professional choirs, various roles in community and college musicals (both onstage and off), as well as co-directing drama camp for Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA.