November 18, 2014

Rebuilding the Wreckage: Wrecks at the Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca

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Writing theater previews is a particularly difficult task when you’re a performer yourself. I’ve been acting ever since coming home from the first Spiderman movie, whereupon I ran to my room with a half-eaten bag of buttery popcorn and proceeded to jump from my sister’s bed to my own, pretending I was Mary Jane on Spiderman’s back and he was webbing us from building to building. Needless to say, I love theater for the transformative, magical process it is. I know how much work is put into a production from character development to intensive rehearsals to elaborate scenery, costumes and lights. Theater is a commitment from all involved to tell someone else’s story. So much work is put into a production but by the end of the rehearsal process, all one can do is put one’s work out there to be judged. Knowing this, it is hard for me not to enjoy a show I see, or at the very least appreciate the show and the valiant efforts of the cast and crew. I am not the harshest reviewer or audience member out there by any means. But while I appreciate nearly every performance I see, I am rarely moved by them.

That said, the Readers’ Theatre’s production of Wrecks by Neil LaBute has been the first axe for the frozen sea inside me in a long while. At first, I was skeptical about the production. Wrecks is an 80-minute, one man play, and one man/woman shows can be difficult to pull off. It’s one thing to hear lengthy monologues from one character peppered throughout a full length show but to listen to one character speak for almost an hour and half without interacting with any other characters runs the risk of becoming tiresome. While there were moments in the middle of Wrecks that seemed to drag on, the one man organization of the play proved not to be a major issue.

Courtesy of the Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca