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Elden Street Players Life x 3

By • Jun 4th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Life x 3 by Yasmina Reza
Elden Street Players
Industrial Strength Theater, Herndon, VA
Through June 25th
80 minutes
$19/$16 Seniors and Students
Reviewed June 3rd, 2011

Life X 3 is a one-act play by Yasmina Reza. It relates the story of one couple (Henry and Sonia) who will be throwing a dinner party for some friends, Hubert and Inez. Unfortunately the tomorrow night is actually tonight and the three different ways the couple handles the situation have very different outcomes. A play about life.

One of my favorite books to read when I was a child was the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series. At the bottom of each story you are given a choice. “Do you press the green or blue button?” If you choose the green button you are sent to page 12, the blue button goes to page 33. And so on, at the bottom of each page is a new decision. So every time you read the story, there is a different ending. Just like life. Your decisions have consequences.

Henry and Sonia (Kevin Walker and Andra Dindzans) are the couple sitting at home preparing the menu for the next evening’s dinner party. They are frustrated with each other, and their child, never seen, only heard, voiced well by Chanukah Jane Lilburne. The couple has strong emotions which are revealed as the scene progresses. The two do even get physical (in a violent way) which makes you wonder if this is a play about spousal abuse. A scene shift occurs, and we are introduced to Hubert and Inez (Ian brown and Susan d. [sic] Garvey) on the sidewalk, coming to dinner an evening early. So, is this a comedy?

Actually, no, Life X 3 is a gimmick, where we see the same scene played three different ways, after the characters have made slightly different decisions, some of which are only discernible if you’ve paid close attention. Sometimes the two couples are relaxed and enjoying themselves, sometimes there are confrontations. Decisions have been made in the lives of the characters that change each evening.

Director Meg Miller was able to get strong performances from her cast. Each of the performers was able to change their characters for each scene. And each player got to play many emotions and have different motives. Each scene was quite believable, and did feel to be a part of a larger whole. So much so that I’d love to see a play of what happens in the future for Henry and Sonia. The problem with Life X 3 is since there really isn’t a conclusion to the play as a whole, there is a general feeling of emptiness at the completion of the performance.

Set Designers Meg Miller and Mike Schlabach created a living room that was tasteful, but with enough toys, chocolate fingers and Cheez-its to create a homey lived in look. Even the choice of “art” hanging on the walls seemed to have meaning. Smooth lighting transitions kept the show on track.

Three realistic slices of life. Or maybe not. Or maybe it does not matter. Kind of like life.

Cast

  • Henry: Kevin Walker
  • Sonia: Andra Dindzans
  • Hubert: Ian Brown
  • Inez: Susan d. Garvey
  • Voice of Child: Chanukah Jane Lilburne

Production Team

  • Producer: Theresa Nichols Bender
  • Director: Meg Miller
  • Stage Manager: Mary Ann Hall
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Sue Klein
  • Run Crew: Chanukah Jane Lilburne
  • Set Designer(s): Meg Miller, Mike Schlabach
  • Master Carpenter: Mike Schlabach
  • Set Crew: Theresa Bender, Richard Durkin, Meg Miller, Marty Sullivan, Jill Tunick, Kevin Walker, Robin Zerbe
  • Set Painting: Jill Tunick, Kevin Walker, Meg Miller, Robin Zerbe, Theresa Bender
  • Lighting Design: Evan Hoffman
  • Lighting Crew: Jacki Young, Laura Moody, AnnMarie Castrigno
  • Lightboard Operators: Sue Klein, Joyce Gillogly
  • Sound Design: Beth Atkins
  • Costume Design: Kathy Dunlap
  • Stage Combat Choreography: Meg Miller
  • Hair/Make-up Design: Laura Fontaine
  • Set Dressing: Meg Miller, Theresa Bender
  • Properties: Theresa Bender
  • House Management: Dave Sinclair, Richard Durkin, Barbara Carpenter
  • Box Office Management: Jeff Boatright
  • Publicity: Rich Klare, Evan Hoffman, Ginger Kohles
  • Cover Graphic: Mike Sherman
  • Playbill: Ginger Kohles
  • Photographer: Traci J. Brooks

Disclaimer: Elden Street Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. ESP also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net web site, which did not influence 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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