Saturday, July 12, 2008

Theatrical Review: The Dining Room

Written by: A. R. Gurney
Directed by: Christopher Centrella*
Theatrical Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

The Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presented their production of “The Dining Room” by A. R. Gurney. The play consists of a series of vignettes centering around (as the play‘s title suggests) the Dining room. However, during the course of the play, we discover these vignettes center themselves around something much more profound.

The play explores human relationships in which the dining room serves as a focal point its audience can readily associate themselves with thereby recognizing themselves in the various scenes portrayed before them. These varied scenes range from young children seeking parental approval to issues relating to the approach of the end of life. There are many times these vignettes physically overlap which serves to indicate how the human situations found in everyone’s lives are connected in unseen ways.

“The Dining Room” by A. R. Gurney is what many in the theatre consider an actors’ play as it allows actors to explore and expand their skill through the tour de force of character they’re asked to portray. The cast consisting of Jenavene Hester (who also served as Costumer), Molly Gallagher (who also served as Costumer), Caitlin Boyle, Leo Christopher Sheridan, Zack Powell, and Andrew Young. Not only were these talented actor believable in each of the characters they portrayed, but they were able to portrayed characters similar to those in other vignettes without copying them. This is an extremely difficult thing for actors to do and their achievement in this area should not go unnoticed as it made the production a stronger one and brought about an even more satisfying theatrical experience to the audience.

Another aspect of the performance which enhanced the play was the seamless choreography inherent in the play’s blocking. It seems odd to mention choreography in a non musical production, but the movement among the actors often had the elements of dance which allowed the overlapping of vignettes to be more believable to the audience. This is another noteworthy achievement as it demonstrates a great deal of directorial skills by the production’s director Christopher Centrella*.

“The Dining Room” by A. R. Gurney was Directed by Christopher Centrella and Stage Managed by Brian Krinsky. The Technical Director and Prop Mistress was Tucker Haworth while The Lighting Designer was Jessica Sentack. The Set Designer was Sean Warner while additional prop mistresses were Ashley Nieves and Evie Korovesis*. The Executive Director of The Shawnee Playhouse* is Midge McClosky* while the producers are Ginny and Charlie Kirkwood. Group Sales of their productions are handled by Mary horn while The Shawnee Playhouse publicity is handled by Amy Cramer*. The Box office staff includes Kasey Mesko, Lillian Gonzales, and Barbara Ross.

This production of “The Dining Room” by A. R. Gurney will continue its run at The Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA until August 3rd and is recommended for those who would like to experience an enjoyable night at the theatre watching very talented actors a in a play which invites it‘s audience to examine their own lives. The next Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presentations will be “Nunsense” to be performed July 19th -.August 31st and Neil Simon’s “The Star Spangled Girl” to be performed August 8th - 31st while their Children Theatre production of “Peter Pan” continues to be performed until August 23rd. Those who enjoy the Passionate Art Lover level of membership in The Forwardian Arts Society are offered a $2.00 discount off the admission fee of The Shawnee Playhouse* Productions (excluding Children Theatrical Production). Please contact The Shawnee Playhouse* at 570-421-5093 for more information and to reserve your ticket.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

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