Legacy of Light
Also see David's review of Two Gentlemen of Verona
When a young playwright is at the peak of her powers, she is capable of creating a spectacular script. That's what happens in Karen Zacarias' new play, Legacy of Light. It's spectacular.
The playwright sets the story in two time periods. One section is set in France in the eighteenth century. Those scenes are juxtaposed with a group of scenes set in the United States in the present. Each story deals with an outstanding woman who has to wrestle with career-building, children, and a relationship with her husband or lover.
In France, Emilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) continues her groundbreaking arithmetical research. (Her work continues to be admired today.) She is married to Monsieur du Châtelet (Paul Michael Valley) and has an ongoing affair with Saint-Lambert (Chancy O'Connor). Her best friend and colleague is Voltaire (Lenny Von Dohlen). Centuries later, Olivia (Michelle Duffy), a modern-day astrophysicist, discovers a new planet. She is married to Peter, a grade-school teacher. They want a child, so they hire a surrogate to carry and give birth to their baby.
Bart DeLorenzo (director) moves the action over the centuries with a seamlessness that is admirable. Many of the actors play two roles. DeLorenzo helps these actors make their characters so distinct that it seems impossible that a single actor could possibly play both characters.
David Kay Mickelsen (costume designer) helps make each character distinct with costumes that are historically accurate, stage worthy, and appropriate for the script.
Takeshi Kata (scenic designer) has created a set that deserves applause for its beauty and its suitability for the demands of the script. The set include a large apple tree (a reference to Newton's theories on gravity). Furniture rolls in on turntables and wagons.
Everything works in harmony to support the playwright's work.
Zacarias has created an interesting, entertaining script that is beautifully performed by the company in the Cleveland Play House.
Legacy of Light is part of the Cleveland Play House's Fusion Festival, an annual spring event.
This production is bittersweet; it is the final production in the Cleveland Play House's facility. The building has been sold and the company will move to downtown Cleveland and be affiliated with the Cleveland PlayhouseSquare.
In its new facility next season, the Cleveland Play House will offer Galileo (September 16 - October 2, 2011), Daddy Long Legs (October 21 - November 13, 2011), The Game's Afoot (Or Holmes for the Holidays) (November 25 - December 18, 2011), Ten Chimneys (January 13 - February 5, 2012), Radio Golf (February 10 - March 4, 2012), Red (March 16 - April 8, 2012) and In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (April 13 - May 6, 2012).
Legacy of Light will continue in the Drury Theatre, Cleveland Play House, through May 1, 2011. For ticket information, telephone 216-795-7000, ext. 4 or visit www.clevelandplayhouse.com.
Legacy of Light
- David Ritchey