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ENCORE, ENCORE presented by Northern Kentucky University through April 25 as part of the Y.E.S Festival of New Plays. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
ENCORE, ENCORE gives audiences a broad view into a small part of the life of legendary American poet, short story writer, critic and screenwriter, Dorothy Parker. Her career took off while she was the theater critic for Vanity Fair. This time period is the focus for most of the play.
Parker was best know for her wit and wisecracks, which provide many laughs in this production. Victoria Hawley does well in portraying the main character. There were times, I felt, where her line delivery lacked spontaneity. Also, be sure to give the audience a chance to hear and process the setup before delivering those comebacks.
For me, the most dramatically-written role is Edwin Pond Parker II, strongly played by Hunter Henrickson. Edwin is portrayed as a successful, yet alcoholic, stock broker. Shortly after his marriage to Dorothy, he leaves to serve in World War I. He returns from the war a broken man, who struggles to find purpose in his work and his marriage. His emotional turmoil is a main focus of the show.
Connor Moulton does well as Parker’s co-worker and friend, Robert Benchley. In his performance as well, there were times when his lines came off as if repeated by rote. I would have liked to have seen a bit more energy and an emotional connection in the banter between Parker, Benchley and Sherwood.
I liked the quieter energy that Andrew Wiemann brought to the role of Robert Sherwood. It made a nice counter-point to the bigger personalities of his office mates. The remaining ensemble does well in completing the cast of characters.
I would have liked to have seen the script humanize Parker a bit more, perhaps then I would have found myself more drawn into the story. I was also confused by the playwright’s decision to present some of the scenes out of linear order.
Overall a good production of a new work that will improve with a few more performances under their belt.
My rating: 3.75 out of 5
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