Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Also see Richard's recent reviews of Colette Uncensored, A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion, Middletown, and Buyer & Cellar
Dominion is set in a familiar time and place and it could be anywhere where women are subjugated to be inferior to their male counterparts, or where women are stoned to death for adultery.
The plot centers on young Esther (Niamh Collins), newly arrived to fulfill her duties as the third wife of the prophet Hammon (Don Wood). She must find her place among the other women of a strange cult: the adversarial Mara (Genevieve Perdue) and the well-meaning Rachel (Katharine Otis). On a nearby farm, widow Ella (Teri Whipple) fears that her only son, Jubal (Alex Poling), will be taken away to work for the cult and perhaps marry one of the cult members. She is also afraid of being alone on the farm to weather the advances of Amit (Nathan Tucker), one of the most powerful members of the cult community. Young Jubal and Esther have a romantic interlude, much to consternation of the Hammon. There is a twist ending that I won't reveal.
The costumes by Arthur Oliver look to be 19th century long cotton gowns for the women and severe black outfits for the men. Staging by James Hunting in the intimate theatre is interesting. There's a wooden structure in the shape of a cross with no set. A three-piece chamber ensemble of string instrument musicians play somber mood music at various points in the drama.
Rik Lopes has assembled seven excellent actors to perform Alan Olejniczak's story about love, sacrifice, and the unknowable truth. Don Wood as Hammon and Nathan Tucker as Amit give powerful performances as the leaders of the cult, while Katharine Otis, Niamh Collins, and Genevieve Perdue are splendid as three wives to one man. Teri Whipple as Ella and Alex Poling as Jubal give good performances.
Dominion plays through April 23rd, 2016, at the Ft. Mason Center, Building C, 3rd Floor. Tickets are available at www.atlasttheatre.com.