Friday, January 21, 2005

. . . Stones in His Pockets by New Theatre Group aegis. . . . energy and virtuosity . . . comedy, above all, is about restraint . . . a playing with intensity and seriousness . . . like a rock skipping over a calm lake surface . . . what parent resists the urge to teach the art of rock skipping . . . scour the beach for the "perfect" flat rock to curl around the forefinger . . . then a strong side arm whip action hitting the "right" angle to breathlessly watch skip after skip after skip till the stone sinks amidst endless ripples . . . such was Stones in His Pockets . . . a wonderfully crafted script by Marie Jones . . . a well-honed director, Susan Williamson, judging velocity & trajectory with practiced exactitude . . . actors Corey Reaume and Bob Wicks keen and sharp, effortlessly skipping from part to part with skill and invention . . . sinking into the rich body of imagination rippling with quiet sentiment . . .

. . . Marie Jones born in Belfast writes with a heart of vision and a tongue of harsh reality . . . it seems no accident that she has been involved in the formation of a number of community theatre companies, has extensive writing credits for radio, television and the stage and has received the John Hewitt Award for outstanding contribution to culture, tradition and the arts in Northern Ireland. . . . Stones in His Pockets makes a plea for people to understand the whole picture and not selective pieces . . .

. . . Susan Williamson's gift is the genius of a director distilling language into clean, articulate and tight physical actions . . . challenging the actors with pace and rhythm . . . letting them amplify the emotional landscape yet knowing the depth rests in the sphere of the audience . . . she carves the text inducing truthful considerations . . .

. . . Corey Reaume and Bob Wicks selflessly work together . . . seasoned professionals they have become . . . exuberant and daring gestures alternate with subtle shifts of phrasing . . . though I know nothing about authentic accents the ear loved each and every voice . . . repetition, bold choices, clarity, transformation, physicalization . . . a veritable clinic in the way of the actor . . .

. . . in the lobby before the show Stefan and I hovered over pictures from past Greystone Theater productions. . . we came across Animal Crackers (1993) . . . one of the last shows at the old Hanger Building . . . directed by Henry Woolf . . . I couldn't contain my laughter at recalling the astounding Groucho Marx impersonator . . .

". . .that was the very first show I can remember Dad ... the soft red seats and the actors throwing something into the audience . . . how easy going and how much fun the people on stage were having . . . there was such a loose and comfortable feeling " . . . he went on to describe the hallways of the now destroyed building and a bicycle rolling down the entrance ramps . . . memories of a six year old . . . he directs his first "big" show these next months . . . we both love to skip rocks . . .

. . . thanks once again Susan & Henry who must be honoured as cultural treasures . . . thank you for realizing another gem and allowing us to be with you . . . theater can only be accessed by being at the edge of the lake and taking the time to listen and watch as the rocks skip endlessly towards the other side . . . please continue to share with us for 75 more years . . .