Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
Also see Bill's review of Opera and the Sea
Director Donna Defant (also responsible for the costumes) takes a minimalist view. Everyone is dressed in black slacks or skirts, and white shirts or blouses. Many of the men's shirts are of the collarless variety, making a further statement of time. Each character is allotted one red prop piece, hat, or body decoration to help define the character.
The piece is named after a river in Illinois, near the author's hometown of Lewiston, but these denizens could be from anywhere. Masters concentrates on the dark; there are no happily married couples or young people in love among the characters. Instead, we have lots of drunkenness and misaligned couplings. My sociological self pondered if this is the America that parts of our citizenry would like to take us back to.
No matter one's interest in the various characters, this is an opportunity for acting. Each performer plays multiple characters, each of which announced as they take center stage. A number of the actors I have seen in previous roles and my recognition carried forward. Others have been in productions I have seen but not in a standout role, and a were are new to me. The entire cast reminded me yet again how deep the local talent pool is. Every one of them is memorable in bringing the characters to life via the free-form poems. Kudos to all.
Ken Junkins designed the simple wooden platform and gravestones in front which serve as the setting.
Coming up for this roving theater is Sylvia at the Bazaar at Apricot and Lime, as well as a few short programs in various locations. Check their website for further information.
The Players Centre for Performing Arts' Spoon River Anthology runs through March 7, 2021, at Jiggs Landing, Bradenton FL. For more information visit www.theplayers.org or call 941-365-2494