THE CAST OF “Telemachus Clay.”

THE CAST OF “Telemachus Clay.”

“Downsville Town,” says the prophet, “trembling along its orbit to the vortex sun that waits beyond the no-color and the night-cadenzas of snores and grunts and sighs.”

As dawn rises on Downsville, we are introduced to the boyhood home, and family and friends of, Telemachus Clay.

It is a story of the yearning of a boy to know his father, a boy who grows up lonely, and in his emptiness creates an imaginary world of love, when all the time his own son yearns to know him.

It is the story of leaving home, of drifting on the sun-rich shores of another false world, bright and cheery with sing-song depravity and self-deception, the smiles of a thousand fake souls lighting the night along with the neon, and then the bitter realization that home is the place where the real soul longs to be.

Telemachus Clay is the drifter, the dreamer, the fatherless child and childless father. The story is mostly about him and his journey to Hollywood to sell his screenplay, a story about how, after an apocalypse, the last man and woman on earth rebuild the new planet better than the old one, because they remember the mistakes made in the old world and pledge not to repeat them.

But 88 other characters, pianokeys, sharp and natural and flat, sounding unique notes or chords, are played by ten other actor-fingers on a dark stage-keyboard, the brightness of their tones highlighted by the light on their faces.

There is no blocking, no costuming, no props, no scenery, no makeup. In this play, there are only words, slick and dusty and bright as a new copper penny at the bottom of a blue swimming pool in the squint of sunlight.

This is a play that makes you dust off words, struggle to hold onto them, take a leap of faith and swim through purity merely to grasp them.

This is a collage of words and voices, and the characters are born in and live their lives out in a nest of syllables and poetry.

It is of interest to know that the author of the play, Lewis John Carlino, left for Hollywood after writing Telemachus Clay and did not return to the legitimate stage.

Such is the stuff of myth and legend.

But Howard Waxman’s brilliant production, here, at the Chocolate Church, keeps the echoes of Carlino’s myriad voices hemmed by the snow-fort walls and ice-brittle winter skies.

Don’t miss this.

Max Ater plays Telemachus Clay.

Andy Barber plays Thomas the Prophet. Through his near-constant beat narration, we learn the story of Telemachus Clay and his journey, his sorrows, his fears, and his hopes.

Cathy Matero plays Telemachus’ mother and other characters. Courtney O’Brien plays Barbara, the left-behind girl and mother of his child. Also in the cast are Lee Leiner, Tamara Lilly, Wayne Otto, Benjamin Proctor, Kendray Rodriguez, Mike Rowe, and Bill Vaughn.

Eli Jackson was the lighting operator, Tracy Kapocius served as stage manager, Beth Rowe was production facilitator, and Ray Siegler was lighting director.

Please don’t miss this.

The show will continue this weekend, February 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. and February 8 at 2 p.m. in the Curtis Room at the Chocolate Church, 804 Washington Street, Bath. Call 442-8455 for tickets, or go to the website, www.chocolatechurch.com.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.


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