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October 7, 2013
Review: Ready for the River

1 Pictured Brad Makarowski, Abigail Wahl, Sheila Joon. Photo Credit Zoran JelenicRabbit Hole Ensemble celebrates its 8th season with "Ready for the River", a timeless play written by Obie Award winner Neal Bell and directed by New York Innovative Theatre winner Edward Elefterion.

In the play, a mother (Doris) and her daughter (Lorna) flee a murder scene: their husband/father, Jim, has killed the banker, Hal, who came to their farm with an eviction notice, and the two fear they are next in line.  Hunted by their past, terrified of their future, the mother and daughter learn more about each other and themselves than they ever wanted to know. On the road, the two come across various characters, from the banker's son, Walter, to the friendly hotel receptionist Hall, who helps them when they get a flat tire.  Doris, in a new position of authority, must decide how far away is far enough.

Elefterion brings the simplicity and brilliance of the natural world to the theatre by allowing the sparse set to ignite the imaginations of the audience.  He invites audiences into a space sans sound, rather than trying to manipulate them with a written director's note or house music to influence their experience of the play.  When the teenaged Lorna, wonderfully embodied by Abigail Wahl, enters between two chairs (representing a fence that overlooks their old farm house), he challenges us to use our imagination and meet the actors halfway -- and we thus slip into an active stream of connected consciousness that comes together as the play evolves.  There are so many organic moments of theatrical genius as the collaboration between audience and actor work in tangent with the hauntingly beautiful words of Bell -- especially the moments of comic relief often stumbled upon when the subsidiary characters make appearances on and off the stage.  At one point in the play, Brad Makarowski, who plays both Ted and Hall, adds to the tension of a rainy car ride as he sits in the backseat with his face half-blown off, pleasant as a peach and making the sound effects of the windshield wiper.

This play is poignant with well crafted characters, themes that resonate across the world, and a talented ensemble of actors to carry it all along.  This is storytelling at its most primal; enhanced by the meticulous lighting of Jamie Roderick, Rabbit Hole Ensemble's "Ready for the River" is a more than just a play -- it's a live action experience.  With the competition of big motion pictures and the overdone spectacles of Broadway, this production stays true to the presentation of the collaborative form of live art that is theater.

"Ready for the River" continues through October 12th.  See our full event listing here: https://stagebuddy.com/listingdetail.php?lid=14902

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Written by: Glenn Quentin
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