Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Most people wish they could turn back time and change something from their past. The same can be said for Kari and Peter, the two central characters in Craig Wright's play, The Pavilion. Now playing at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, The Pavilion explores time and how we choose to use it.
Voted "cutest couple" in their rural Minnesota high school, Kari and Peter have been apart for twenty years. They finally reunite at their high school reunion. The reunion is not an altogether happy one as the couple finally has to face the repercussions of decisions made both in the present and the past.
Craig Wright has written a play filled with sensitivity and humor. Wright's characters are well defined and he has included a nice mix of contemporary language and eighties slang.
The Pavilion is performed by only three actors, although there are nineteen characters featured in the play. Aaron Shields plays Peter. Having left his high school sweetheart behind some twenty years before, Peter returns to his hometown in order to seek out his first love at their high school reunion. Shields delivers a lovely performance and is able to inspire sympathy for a character that isn't very sympathetic.
Round House Associate Artist Jane Beard plays Peter's old flame. As Kari, Beard discovers the hidden depths of this character. Her portrayal is part 17-year-old girl and part embittered woman. She is especially effective in portraying the character's provincial existence.
The remaining seventeen characters are portrayed by Round House alum Marty Lodge, and he does so beautifully. His characterizations range from the narrator of the piece to a pregnant school chum. His portrayals are so successful that there are times when one forgets that the same actor is playing all of these roles.
Round House Producing Artistic Director Jerry Whiddon has directed the piece. He has done so in a way that captures the audience and makes one feel as if they are part of this world. And in a way, they are. The characters in this play are already known to most of us. The class stoner, the popular girls and the cutest couple have all had supporting roles in the drama known has High School. Perhaps that is why this play works so well. The audience finally gets to see how their stories turn out.
The Pavilion runs through March 2nd.
Round House Theatre
Kari: Jane Beard