A sold out opening night and 3 more performances to go. Julia Cossman (local performer and vocal teacher) attended one of our performances and here’s what she had to say:
“RKP’s double bill of Dick Reichman’s play The Phone and Nava Semel’s The Child Behind the Eyes balances an evening of two worlds in poignant portrayals that lets us inside. Bernie Blaine (one of my favorite local actresses,) is always a treat to watch on stage, bringing a full and honest portrayal of her characters to life. She truly inhabits this one and manages to fill the stage (and theatre) with her expressive voice and face from a wheel chair that barely changes position.
My mother suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s and it is not my happiest subject, but I surely recognized the seamless world and coping mechanisms that Bernie’s ‘Mother’ character deftly employed as she navigated through a brain maze of imagery and scrambled vocabulary. I enjoyed the hints at her back story of a former opera diva playing Eurydice who is still indignant at the casting of Orfeo as a Contralto! I well recognized the guilt and conflict in Jane Baird’s daughter character as she tried to find her place in her mother’s reality. I was prepared to be uncomfortable, but I was mesmerized.
The audience was then treated to a glimpse inside another world, one of honesty and innocence, The Child Behind the Eyes. Again, I was completely drawn into the story through Nava Sarracino’s restrained, honest portrayal of how her world turned completely around with the birth of her Down Syndrome son. Again, a very stark stage with only a bed, chair and art easel fully became environments and allowed us to ‘see’ a child happily splashing paint about the paper and room.
The use of sound was particularly effective in creating environment and the other characters. Director Vivian Melde and composer Christel Veraart fused music and action that beautifully blended and enhanced the moment giving new levels of intimacy and action. Playful moments with a hurt and pouting child were made real as mother and son tumbled in the bed until both were backed into the imaginary wall.
It was a rich evening of fine acting and beautiful original music (Christel Veraart, composer/singer and Christine Reichmann, flute.) THANK YOU, ALL.
P.S. Another treat, every word was perfectly heard, a bonus for those who are hard of hearing!”
Other Reactions from the Audience
… Semel’s poetic monologue, gracefully performed by Nava Sarracino, directed by Vivian Melde, also abounds in poignancy… – Mike Dunham Alaska Dispatch
Christel Veraart’s music is quite haunting. I was humming the theme as I walked away from the theatre. – Ron Holmstrom, Fox 4 TV
…The Child Behind the Eyes is richly interpreted, intensely personal and deeply emotional—an introspective journey into the life of another that helps to illuminate our own. – Janis La Couvee, Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2016