West Coast Florida
Williamson's Leo is a 21-year-old neo hippy, a type that my companion for the afternoon assures me does indeed exist in great numbers today. Vera is described in the playwright's biography as 91 years old, but here she seems to be 75 to 80ish, which makes more sense to me. Lois Markle's younger vision of the character is losing hearing, losing the ability to quickly put words together but still quite mobile and able to do for herself. During the coarse of the play, Vera is shown bringing unfolded laundry back as well as bringing in her own groceries. Miss Markle does an extraordinary job with the physicality of the part, showing clear differences in her reactions to Leo when her hearing aid is in vs. when it is not. Benjamin Williamson captures the unassuredness of his character, aimless college drop out, geeky, trying to exist in a non geeky universe. In one scene he talks about rejecting technology that many of his peers cling to for dear life, making an interesting tie in with Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, still in repertory at Asolo Rep. He conveys that Leo is beginning to grow more confident by losing some of the most extreme physical tics. This is a fine performance by a third year Conservatory student. Maxey Whitefield and Lisa Dring round out the cast in thankless supporting roles.
Direction by Tea Alagic, who was a classmate of author Amy Herzog at Yale, is most noticeable in the fine performances. All other technical aspects are up to Asolo's always high standards.
This has been a year of excellent performances at Asolo Rep and 4000 Miles adds to the success of the 2013-2014 season.
4000 Miles, presented by Asolo Repertory Theater through April 27, 2014, at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Florida, 34243. For performance and ticketing information, visit www.asolorep.org or call 941-351-8000.
Directed by Tea Alagic