Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Hard Bargain Players Spoon River Anthology

By • Jun 4th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Hard Bargain Players’ production of Spoon River Anthology [MP3 3:17 1MB].

Laura: Saturday evening we saw Hard Bargain Players‘ production of Spoon River Anthology in Accokeek, Maryland.

Mike: Spoon River Anthology was written by Edgar Lee Masters as a collection of unusual short freeform poems that collectively describe the life of the fictional small town of Spoon River. Each poem is an epitaph of a dead citizen delivered by the dead themselves. In this production, Hard Bargain has done an excerpt of about 70 of the over 200 soliloquies that were available.

Laura: This was an interesting interpretation of this show. It was done in reader’s theater’s style. There were six performers. They all did a good job. It’s hard to mention specific names because each performer played at least eight different characters as they were going through the different stories. It was simple blocking. Because it was a reader’s theaters style, they really had to tell the story through their voices. I think they did a good job with their inflection, the expression on their face, their voice, their eyes was really good.

Mike: This was a good show. It was about and hour and twenty five minutes long with one fifteen minute intermission. The pacing of the show kept moving right along. The actors did a good job without leaving large pauses between different sections. The different stories didn’t really mesh together, they were very much stand alone. The different characters did not mesh well together in that they weren’t building upon each other. They all stood by themselves. There really wasn’t a plot to share other than you learn more about Spoon River and about the people and the different occurrences that are happening there.

Also there was a fiddler, John O’Loughlin. Before the show started he gave us a brief concert, played four or five different songs. He told us a little bit of history about those songs. That was a nice little bonus at the beginning of the show.

Laura: After the performance we talked with the director S. R. Santana. We asked her how much direction she gave the cast when they were putting together their different stories.

Mike: She told us that other than helping them with the timing of working with each other in the larger rehearsals, pretty much each actor was on their own to come up with their voices and their timing of how the actual reading of their actual poem would go. I think that was fine. It worked out very well. The show being less than and hour and a half long was nice. The show really could drag on for hours and hours. We only saw about a third of it.

Laura: Spoon River Anthology is a piece that is not very often performed because it does take a little bit to get your mind wrapped around what’s going on. Hard Bargain did an excellent job. Being less that two hours was definitely appealing and I think you’ll enjoy it when you go see it. It is playing a couple more weekends. Friday and Saturday at 8 pm. then Thursday the 14th and Friday the 15th at 8 pm at the Hard Bargain Ampitheater in Accokeek, Maryland.

Mike: And now, on with the show.


  • First Voice: Michael Margelos
  • Second Voice: Andrea Watkins
  • Third Voice: Steven Ware
  • Fourth Voice: Trich Ware
  • Fifth Voice: Nick Brightwell
  • Sixth Voice: Kate Huber
  • Fiddler: John O’Loughlin


  • Director: S. R. Santana
  • Stage Manager: Kim Donaldson
  • Light Design and Crew: Julianna “Juls” Bogdan
  • Costumes: Cast
  • Set Design: S. R. Santana
  • House Manger: Janet Zavistovich
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