West Coast Florida
The Heidi Chronicles
It seems to me that Asolo Rep is doing a lot of plays that demand a strong sense of time and place, such as You Can't Take it With You and Glengarry Glen Ross, both previously reviewed. The Heidi Chronicles, in attempting to illuminate such an important social movement and the effects on people's lives, must offer up a knowledgeable representation of those times. What is astonishing is that Director Laura Kepley and her entire cast are too young to have the strong connections to the material described above, which we saw in an actors talkback. Ms. Kepley in an interview in the program book, clearly relates strongly to this material and that shows in her direction.
Everything about this production is just about perfect. A mostly guest cast, assisted by members of the Asolo Conservatory, as the ensemble offers rich performances. Elizabeth King-Hall as title character Heidi Holland captures many nuances as she grows from woman/child to mature mother. She dominates the production as this central character must. Zachary Fine as Scoop Rosenbaum, who loves Heidi but is too self absorbed to make a life with her, and Brian Sills as best friend Dr. Peter Patrone both offer excellent support, as does Gail Rastorfer as friend, Susan Johnston. The ensemble, several of whom have showier roles in other productions, all do a great job.
The entire production is greatly helped by Asolo Theater's technical resources, all elements add to the richness. Sets designed by Kris Stone clearly delineate time and place, and having the ensemble dance to music of the period makes scene changes seamless, also helping the audience transition across time. Costuming by Jennifer Caprio is on the same exalted level.
Asolo Repertory Theater presents The Heidi Chronicles,through March 17, 2013, at the Mertz Theater in the FSU Center. 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Sarasota, Florida. Box Office (941) 351-8000. For more information visit www.asolorep.org.
Director: Laura Kepley
*--Member of Actor's Equity Association