Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

Bloomsday
none too fragile theatre
Review by David Ritchey


Tom Woodward and Brooke Turner
Photo by Brian Kenneth Armour
Steven Dietz (has published over 30 plays, most produced by regional theaters. And now his Bloomsday, has opened in the none too fragile theatre, that little theater is in a backroom in Pub Bricco.

This script is based on James Joyce's Ulysses, though it is not as long or as dense and heavy as Ulysses. Bloomsday is a short two-act play, running about two hours. It deals with two characters played by four actors.

Tom Woodward as Robert, the older, and Nicholas Chokan, as Robbie the younger, play the same character at different ages. Likewise, Cait the older and Caithleen the younger are played by Derdriu Ring and Brooke Turner, respectively. It is with Caithleen that Robbie first falls in love.

Bloomsday derives its name from the annual celebration that takes place in Dublin and around the world on June 16. People dress in costumes celebrants would have worn in Dublin in 1904. The men wear morning suits—slacks, a coat with tails—and look elegant. The women wear long dresses and pork-pie hats. They gather in several places where important scenes from Ulysses take place, to recite sections they have memorized from the novel.

The characters change as the story progresses over a 25-year period, in looks and, of course, in their life goals and the romantic aspects of their lives. Each does a lot of asking about whether he or she meant something, including discussing a kiss: if someone had been kissed back, might that kiss have led to marriage, or might the kiss have led to the end of the relationship.

Director Katia Schwarz leads her cast to a smooth delivery of lines and action, with nothing jarred. Never does the cast become overcome with the mystery of lines. Schwarz is an excellent director. She has worked with her cast and with the script to bring a meaningful treatment of the play to the playing area.

Time is important to this production and to the script. The characters discuss time and how much happened to them. Time moves at a slow steady pace in the story. The audience watches time move through the characters' changing their lives, not permitting them to step back and relive one moment.

Bloomsday ran through September 1, 2018, at none too fragile theatre, 1835 Merriman Rd., Akron OH. For more information, visit www.nonetoofragile.com or call 330-962-5547.


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