REVIEW: Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival Part 2: ‘great regional playwriting’


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2017 Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival
Part 2 April 29, 2017

Review by Shelli Park

Will (Josh Kibbey) and Jane (Cara Hazzard) are two recovering addicts struggling to find the truth—and healing—in the connection they once shared in Winter People at Burien Actors Theatre. The one-act play, written by Devin Rodger, performs from April 28-May 7 in a double bill with the full-length play The Law of the Sea as part of BAT’s 2017 Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival. Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com

Welcome to the second week of great regional playwriting. There are two plays; a one-act and a full length play. The format is simple with an opportunity provided at the end for constructive feedback with the writer and director.

Winter People
By Devin Rodger
Directed by Tabitha Angier

Winter People is my favorite play of the four plays presented. The writing and the acting were top notch, as was the direction by Tabitha Agier. I was both taken outside of myself, and within. This is a difficult feat to achieve in writing and Devin Rodger’s effort is a success.

Jane (Cara Hazzard) and Will (Josh Kibbey) are two people who are universes apart, yet, are as close as two people can be. We are taken on a roller coaster ride as truth emerges from a convoluted narrative. Life is messy and each is guilty.

Hazzard and Kibbey are wonderful. The dialogue is fast-paced and passionate. They are able to maintain the energy needed to sustain the vibrancy of the encounter without overacting.

Hazzard creates a woman desperately defending her peace of mind. She is distracted, afraid, impatient, but her manner slowly evolves over the course of the story in a believable way.

Kibbey is also desperate, but he seeks a truth which has evaded him for years. He wants his love back. He is confused, hurt and a different man than he was before. Kibbey makes it easy to have sympathy for his character.

Winter People is a puzzle which slowly unravels and is carefully rewoven from the broken pieces. We are left with the sweetness of absolution, a little redemption and the possibility that we can experience a paradigm shift strong enough to establish a new reality.

Bertram (Tim Takechi) watches while Elizabeth (Audrey Herold) senses the identity of the owner of a lost key just by holding it in The Law of the Sea at Burien Actors Theatre. In the full-length play, written by D. Richard Tucker, Andrew Irving died in a shipwreck and his widow can’t believe the explanation given by the surviving crew. The Law of the Sea performs April 28-May 7 in a double bill with the one-act Winter People as part of BAT’s 2017 Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival. Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com

After surviving a shipwreck, seated from left to right, friends and shipmates Darby (Stanley Dang), Fergus (Evan Tucker) and Bertram (Tim Takechi) drink and talk at the local pub owned by George (Peter Cook), standing, in The Law of the Sea at Burien Actors Theatre. In the full-length play, written by D. Richard Tucker, Andrew Irving died in a shipwreck and his widow can’t believe the explanation given by the surviving crew. Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com

The Law of the Sea
Written by D. Richard Tucker
Directed by Rochelle Flynn

There are moments when we are presented with a decision which alters our course forever. And, in life, there are truths. The truth may be enlightening, or it may weigh heavy.

The Law of the Sea is a story of truth which weighs heavy on a group of sailors. It is a simple tale, and while the truth is a difficult one, the play moves effortlessly thanks to the direction of Rochelle Flynn.

The play takes place in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. As mentioned in my review of the first two plays in the festival, the costume design by Tucker O’Connor, is perfect. The set design (Maggie Larrick) is also lovely. Each piece of furniture and its placement creates just the right mood.

There are three stand-out actors in the The Law of the Sea. They ground the play with their ability to embody their characters and the emotions developed through their experience, as told.

The wife of a dead sailor is coming to New York City to collect her husband’s wages and to pursue an intuition. Audrey Herold plays the role of the widow, Elizabeth Irving. Everything about Herold’s voice and body language is excellent. Herold balances her character’s diverse emotions with aplomb. At times, a bit anxious, but also full of confidence in her intuition. A lovely female character.

Evan Tucker plays one of three sailors, Fergus Hays. He is the one chosen to speak with the widow. Hays is the most mature of the three, as a character, and Tucker is the most mature as an actor. He was a real pleasure to watch. Hays is an honest man, and wants to do the right things.

Peter Cook ties everything together playing two important support roles, George Jenkins, a barkeep, keeping the sailors whistles wet, and Reverend Cole, a sexist (in a way that was standard fare for the time period), but a good, man who helps bring closure to the life of the widow, Elizabeth Irving. He played both roles well, and with enough differentiation that I didn’t notice they were one and the same until almost the end.

The Law of the Sea is a pleasant play to experience, despite dealing with difficult themes. It rounds out a successful Playwrights Festival. Endulge!!

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE/TICKETS
Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.:

  • Sunday, April 30, 20172:00 pm – Purchase
  • Friday, May 5, 20177:30 pm – Purchase
  • Saturday, May 6, 20177:30 pm – Purchase
  • Sunday, May 7, 20172:00 pm – Purchase

ADDRESS/DIRECTIONS
Burien Actors Theatre is located at the Burien Community Center Annex, at 14501 4th Ave SW, in the northwest corner of the intersection of 4th Ave SW and SW 146th Street (near the skateboard park – map below).

“Come see a show, park without drama – BAT has plenty of free onsite parking!”

More info at http://burienactorstheatre.org

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