Thursday, July 2, 2009

Theater Review: Sweet Storm

Jamie Dunn and Eric T. Miller.
Photo courtesy of KPM Associates.


The Storm Inside Rages More Violently Than the Hurricane Outside
By Lauren Yarger
A storm breaking, both literally and emotionally drives Scott Hudson’s new play Sweet Storm, co-presented Off-Broadway by Alchemy Theatre and LAByrinth Theater Company at the Kirk Theater.

Ruthie (Jamie Dunn) and Bo (Eric T. Miller) are up a tree, again quite iterally, as Bo carries his new bride to a surprise honeymoon suite: a tree house built in the limbs where they once climbed and where love blossomed when she slipped and grabbed hold of him to keep from falling. To put the finishing touches on the special wedding night surprise, amongst the bed, a few pieces of furniture and a few necessities, Bo places heaps of gardenias, Ruthie’s favorite flower, which she thinks have “the aroma of angels.”

The idyllic setting (depicted simply by scenic and costume designer Lea Umberger as two large limbs accented by green strips of foliage nicely lighted by Sarah Sidman) doesn’t trigger quite the reaction Bo hopes for from his new wife. Instead, a storm of emotion is unleashed, much like the Sept. 10, 1960 hurricane which is fast approaching their location at Lithia Springs, Fl. The sounds of nature, with varying degrees of rain and wind are amazingly created by sound designer Elizabeth Rhodes You could almost swear you were sitting outdoors up a tree.

The tree sits on land recently donated for a new church Bo is excited about pastoring, but Ruthie isn’t so sure. In fact, she’s wonders whether getting married was such a great idea, especially in light of a recent accident which has left her paralyzed from the waist down. She is still angry, searching for answers and not in the mood for surprises. As Bo must carry her every where and help her use a bed pan, Ruthie’s emotions whirl out of control and its hard to tell if a storm bigger than the approaching hurricane isn’t raging within .

“You married a woman with no faith and no legs,” she tells him.

Bo doesn’t have any easy answers, but they start talking and recall moments from their courtship. He reassures her of his love and eventually, Ruthie’s fears subside, just as the hurricane rages around them

Directed by Padraic Lillis, the play is a sweet story of how love and prayer can triumph over fear and circumstances.

Sweet Storm runs at the Kirk Theater, 410 W. 42nd St., NYC through July 26. For tickets and information, visit http://www.labtheater.org/onstage/onstage.html.

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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