November 3, 2012

Theater Review: A deep look at relationships

By APRIL BOYLE

We all come to a crossroads, at some time in our lives, where we wonder how we got to where we are, and where we’re going. As time goes on, memories tend to fade, and dreams all too often fall to the wayside. Passion, enthusiasm and spontaneity are replaced by complacency.

“Homestead Crossing” brings the past, present, and future together with a supernatural twist befitting a Halloween week opening.

Portland Stage is presenting the world premier of the play, written by William Donnelly. The Massachusetts-based playwright previously brought us such plays as “Magnetic North.”  With “Homestead Crossing,” he once again combines a philosophical look at relationships, with a hearty dose of humor.

THEATER REVIEW

WHAT:
“Homestead Crossing” by Portland Stage

WHERE: 25A Forest Ave., Portland

DATE REVIEWED: Friday; play runs through Nov. 18

TICKETS: $39-$44 ($35-$40 for seniors and $20 for students)

CONTACT: 774-0465, www.portlandstage.org

The play is set in the suburban home of Noel (David Adkins) and Anne (Corinna May). The middle-aged husband and wife have lost touch with who they are, and what they want. They co-exist, but are virtually invisible to each other.

The path they’re on takes on unexpected and revitalizing turn when a young couple, Claudia (Lesley Shires) and Tobin (Ross Cowan), mysteriously appear on their doorstep one rainy night.

“Homestead Crossing,” directed by Kyle Fabel, officially opened at Portland Stage Friday night. From the moment the audience stepped into the theater, there was a mystical feel in the air. A study, with a cathedral ceiling, in-wall bookcase and large picture window, welcomingly beckoned to the audience, as if inviting patrons to sit in the two chairs in the middle of the room.

Blue gossamer fabric hung ethereally from the rafters outside the house like cascading sheets of rain, adding mystique. Lighting from Paul Hackenmueller and sound effects from Shane Rettig provided additional ambiance. 

The set, designed by Artistic Director Anita Stewart, beautifully set the mood for the enigmatic tale that was about to unfold on stage.

The core theme of “Homestead Crossing” is the relationship issues that couples face. In Noel and Anne, the audience is shown a longtime married couple, fatigued by the years.

Adkins and May expertly played off each other, amusingly highlighting the couple’s inability to communicate, and overall apathy. Even the idea of “fooling around” is too big of a production.

The subject is serious, but Donnelly masterfully presents it in a lighthearted, witty manner that readily garnered laughs Friday.

The laughs kicked into high gear with the introduction of Claudia, then Tobin. Shires and Cowan captured the young couple’s naivety and spirit. Their facial expressions, mannerisms and perfectly timed line delivery were beyond priceless.

Donnelly has a knack for writing plays audiences can identify with. We’ve all been one of his couples, or know couples that are. His style brings out the humor of the situation, without losing the inherent meaning.

The transcendental quality of “Homestead Crossing” further adds to the charm. One doesn’t have to be a medium to see that this play has a bright and promising future.

April Boyle is a free-lance writer from Casco.  She can be contacted at:

aprilhboyle@yahoo.com
 

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