Saturday, February 04, 2006

Kindred

Insight Out Theatre Collective
February 4, 2006; closes February 18, 2006

Gripping, provocative, explosive and painfully funny script. A clear, concentrated no-shit production both tense, yet tender; intimate, yet claustrophobic — like a painful embrace you don’t let go of. Mesmerizing lifer Lamont Stephens was genuinely outstanding. Careful, discerning direction by Bruce Hostetler amid suggestively straightforward set design by Kate Kauffman.

4 comments:

rufus said...

Wonderful pace and direction, really interesting script, effective and appropriate set, fine performances -- especially by Mr. Stephens.

Anonymous said...

I could have sat there and watched Lamont Stephens all day. He was absolutely captivating and his performance alone makes this worth checking out. The script got a little speechifying, a little too transparently liberal-agenda-ed for me at times, but the beauty of the design and the tangibility of the relationship saw this production through any rough spots.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful 90 minutes in the theatre.

As is often the case in Portland, the smaller the space, the cheaper the ticket, the fewer people in the audience - the better the show. Somehow there were only a handful of people at the IFCC to see this rewarding piece on a Friday night.

The bare classic drama feel (a tiny playing space, bare set, no music or sound effects, one act, one light bulb etc.) was exciting. The audience was right there with the characters as they moved, raged and rued. It was all on them to bring the world alive.

Lamont Stephens was very strong. Not only does he have great presence, he can act. His emotional range in tone and gesture was grand. I sat there imagining all the different roles I would like to see him in.

That being said, this play is not without its problems. I did not find the other character (white guy who commits random crime and is about to be executed) believable at all. His story, words, accent and mannerisms did not ring true in any way. Maybe part of the problem is that Lamont Stephens was so good.

On a number of ocasions the playwright makes the mistake of filling the characters's mouths with his own words as opposed to theirs. Dropping references to Synge on death row? Maybe - but why? All the motor mouth literary references clanked on the stage like the cell door closing. Other witty pop culture references distracted from what could be a more compelling emotional content.

At moments it felt like he was just unloading random jokes, monologues, references he had collected in his notebook, regardless of whether they contributed to the overall story. This was particularly true for the white character.

Related to this, there were a few jump cuts where the mood shifted instantly (bang!) but because we did not have enough info we could not travel with the characters, and their yells or tears felt like melodrama.

Despite these issues, a very worthwhile night overall. Lamont Stephens was a glowing, inspiring force on stage. We would be lucky to see him back in Portland soon.

Lysander said...

... part of the problem is that Lamont Stephens was so good. ...

Exactly.