Monday, October 05, 2009
So long Bang and Clatter, BUT…………..
About five years ago Bang and Clatter, an Akron based theatre, the dream child of Sean Derry and Sean McConaha, appeared on the local scene. Dedicated to producing innovative, challenging works of modern American playwrights, it set a high level of theatrical creativity. Shows like ‘FAT PIG’ and ‘ORANGE FLOWER WATER,’ were outstanding, some of the finest productions in the area.
Not happy to stay just in Akron, the duo decided also to venture into Cleveland. They constructed and opened another theatre in the abandoned Cole’s Shoes Store on Euclid Avenue near Public Square. Their world crashed down around them as grants, and other money agreements were late in arriving or fell through. That, along with little money for public relations, losing their Akron performance space, and personal chaos in each of the lives of the “Seans,” resulted in the closing of both the Akron and Cleveland facilities. Too bad. The area will miss their creativity.
BUT, there may still be a light at the end of the tunnel. A recent conversation with Sean Derry indicated that he is venturing out, sans McConaha, and opening a theatre on the river bank in Cuyahoga Falls. He hopes to open in the Spring of 2010, but there may be a December production. Let’s hope so, as the area needs the kind of productions that Bang and Clatter put forth.
The last B&G show is Craig Wright’s ‘LADY.’ Mainly known for his writing for television shows such as Six Feet Under, Lost, Brothers and Sisters and developing his own show, Dirty Sexy Money, Wright is also a prolific playwright.
‘LADY,’ according to the author, is "about unfaithfulness: unfaithfulness to spouses, unfaithfulness to friends, unfaithfulness to patriotic ideals and unfaithfulness to the simple innocence of life's desire to live.''
Originally commissioned and performed by Northlight Theatre in suburban Chicago, the drama is set in the woods of Southern Illinois, hours from Skokie, where Northlight makes its home.
The story concerns a hunting trip which turns tragic when a U.S. Congressman reveals to his closest friends that he is changing his political party and stance on the war in Iraq. While the friends struggle with their conflicting thoughts and feelings, one hunter's dog, Lady, wanders in the forest, with tragic results. One thing seems certain: after this experience in the woods, their lives and relationships will never be the same.
B&G’s production, under the direction of Sean Derry, is compelling. The acting, by Jeffrey Grover (Graham, a Democratic congressman who has adopted Republican ideals), Richard Worswick (Dyson, a college professor who master- minded Graham’s election), and William Martin (Kenny, whose wife is dying of cancer and fears losing the world as he knows it) is excellent. All men develop believable and clear characters.
The setting, in B&G’s 30-seat temporary home in Akron, is an authentic woods scene, complete with huge rocks, sand floors and dead or dying trees. Believe me, the set was real, as was attested to by my emerging allergies as I sat through the 90-minute production.
Capsule judgment: It’s to bad Bang and Clatter has come to the end of its run, but at least it went out on a high note. ‘LADY’ is a thought-provoking, well acted play.