Regional Reviews: Los Angeles
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
Also see John's review of Anna in the Tropics
The Atlantic Theatre in Jupiter has chosen to open its inaugural season with the Frank McGuiness play Someone Who'll Watch Over Me. The story of three men held captive in a cell in Beirut, this piece was inspired by the true account of former Beirut prisoner Brian Keenan. The prisoners struggle to maintain their sanity, humanity, and hope in a setting devoid of all three. Inherent to this story of captivity is the strength of the human spirit to survive and the capacity of imagination to set us free.
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me received a Tony Nomination when it opened on Broadway in 1992. Twelve years later, its subject matter is still painfully relevant, as we recall the plight of many prisoners in our own recent overseas involvements. Irish born playwright McGuiness is writer-in-residence at the Abbey Theatre and the recipient of the 1992 American-Irish Prize and the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play.
The direction by company founder Frank Licari, a simple stage, costumes, minimal lighting, and lack of background noise or effects - all work together to define what we can only imagine as bleak solitude and deafening silence. My only concern with this piece is the writing in the final scene, which seems somehow unfinished like a pair of pants without a hem. But it is perhaps the writer's intent after all to leave us feeling unsettled on such an issue.
Robert Schelhammer is solid in his role as Irish journalist, Edward. He has some good moments in the second act with Hugh Davies, who plays English professor Michael. The accent work for both is quite strong. Alexander Leatty, as American doctor Adam, has good characterization, but needs to work on speed and diction. He spoke so quickly that I lost the beginnings of many sentences. This piece is potentially too powerful to miss out on catching every word.
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me runs until October 24th at the Atlantic Theatre inside the Atlantic Arts Academy in Jupiter. The Atlantic Theatre is a professional theater employing Equity and non-Equity local performers. The affiliated Arts Academy offers classes for children and adults. For tickets to this show, and information on their season and their class schedule, contact them at (561) 575-3271 or on line at www.theatlantictheater.com/.
-- Kevin Johnson