THIS WIDE NIGHT presented by The Clifton Players through March 4. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
Can dreams of the future made by cellmates survive the reality of life outside of prison? That possibility is explored in Clifton Players’ production of the two-person play, THIS WIDE NIGHT.
Miranda McGee, perhaps more known for her comedic turns, shines in the challenging role of Marie. Throughout the performance, I was struck how the emotional swings of her character emanated from the actress and always rang true.
As Lorraine, Dale Hodges enters as an adrift soul trying to find solace with the only “family” she has known during her long incarceration. She brings a great vulnerability to the role but there are these great moments of seemingly innocent manipulation that remind the audience she’s not as innocent as she appears.
Faults aside, I was surprised how invested I had become in these two ladies. True to its source material (interviews from recently released inmates) the script doesn’t answer all questions or provide a happy ending.
Director Kevin Crowley keeps the movement within the confirmed space of the studio apartment natural and motivated. There are several great stage pictures created in response to lines in the script that could easily be missed by a less experienced director.
Re-configuring the play space worked well to create Marie’s below street level apartment. I would encourage the covering of the windows above the apartment door as the foot traffic outside was a bit distracting at times.
One element that was unclear to me was how much time had passed between the various scenes. The dialogue in the scenes doesn’t always help. A bit of period underscoring during the scene changes might have helped define the time period. Speaking of the time period, the use of a CD and a shopping bag printed with a web site address were a bit anachronistic. One of the downsides of such an intimate venue. 🙂
Overall, a smartly directed production with strong, emotional true performances.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5
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