Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Las Vegas

Small Mouth Sounds
A Public Fit Theatre Company
Review by Mary LaFrance


Jamie Carvelli Pikrone, Marcus Weiss, Mario Peoples,
Timothy Cummings, Dina Emerson, and
Valerie Carpenter Bernstein

Photo by Richard Brusky
Performing a play with almost no dialogue may be the theatrical equivalent of cooking the perfect egg. The simplicity of the ingredients magnifies the challenge. With a total word count that probably takes up three pages, Bess Wohl's Small Mouth Sounds puts actors and directors to the ultimate test: Can they take us on a dramatic adventure by showing—rather than telling—their story?

A Public Fit Theatre Company's production answers this question with an emphatic yes. Or, more accurately, a firm nod of the head. Under Ann-Marie Pereth's direction, six exceptional actors undertake a nearly wordless journey, while a seventh is heard but not seen. The result is a triumph of acting and storytelling skills.

Six strangers—including one couple—arrive at a woodsy retreat for a personal journey of self-discovery. Their guru, who is present only as a disembodied voice, lays down the ground rules. Number one is that they cannot speak to one another. For the most part, this rule is honored. As for the other rules, minor infractions are the order of the day.

Even though they cannot converse, these seekers find ways to connect with one another. They communicate through the smallest visual details—facial expressions, gestures, pauses, and body language. Happily, Small Mouth Sounds features some of the Valley's best actors. They establish distinct characters through these subtle details. They also find the play's humor—and there is much of it—in the awkward, self-conscious, and occasionally self-indulgent moments that punctuate the characters' tentative interactions. Against the prevailing silence, the tiniest sound is amplified, often to hilarious effect.

To watch Wohl's play is to experience a journey of our own. No longer bombarded by the constant chatter of daily life, there is simplicity and purity in watching people interact without words. Once again, A Public Fit has produced an exceptional evening of theatre.

A Public Fit Theatre Company's Small Mouth Sounds, through March 10, 2019, at The Usual Place, 100 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas NV. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., and March 2 & 9 at 2 p.m.), For tickets ($30 general admission, $25 seniors and students) or further information, visit apublicfit.org.

Cast:
Jan: Timothy Cummings
Rodney: Mario Peoples
Ned: Marcus Weiss
Joan: Valerie Carpenter Bernstein
Judy: Dina Emerson
Alicia: Jamie Carvelli Pikrone
Teacher: Erik Amblad

Additional Creative:
Sound Design: Arles Estes
Scenic Design: Eric A. Koger
Costume Design: Mariya Radeva-Nedyalkova
Lighting Design: Josh Wroblewski


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