Monday, April 14, 2014

SOVEREIGN BODY …North Hollywood

A modern family are preparing Thanksgiving dinner, with the mother cooking, daughters  squabbling, grandma pleading, father hiding, guests quibbling, all an amusing preamble to the ritual gathering of relatives. Still, the event takes on a strange hue when a handsome man in a smart grey suit enters and hovers unseen by all but the mother. Is this spectral shadow a former lover, a dear departed, or merely a figment of her overactive imagination? 

Shockingly, in playwright Emilie Beck’s intriguing drama, he turns out to be a living metaphor for the tragedy that will rend this family to their depths. He is the destroyer that robs the mother of her capacity to control her body and her life. To tell more will deprive viewers of the chance to experience the emotional power of this play and decipher its mystery themselves.
Taylor Gilbert is indomitable as the mother who will not surrender her fighting spirit; Dani Stephens is delightful as a surly young girl on the brink of womanhood; Hannah Mae Sturges is adorable as a pliant teenager; Bryna Weiss is excellent as patient grandma as is Kevin McCorkle as the loyal husband; Jack Millard is seductive as the unwanted gentleman caller, and Anna Carini and John Cragen are a delight as reluctant invitees. 

 Director Scott Alan Smith keeps a fine balance between realism and expressionism. Multi-level set is by Stephen Gifford, with lighting by Derrick McDaniel, sound by David B. Marling and costumes by Jocelyn Hublau. Haunting film segments are by Darryl Johnson, with original music by Drew Price. 

 A Road Theatre Company world premiere production at the Historic Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, through May 24. Tickets: 866-811-4111 or
Also reviewed in the May issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.

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