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Keyword: ‘Slow Girl’

Slow Girl — Dobama

January 30th, 2015 1 comment

Dobama Poster

First, let me say that if you’re looking for something to do and you haven’t seen Slow Girl, then go and see it at Dobama: I was there opening night and enjoyed the play.

Leighann DeLorenzo (Director) did a fantastic job keeping the pace taught on a play that has a good potential to drag or, to be punny, slow. Let’s face it, a two hander with a middle-aged man and a teenage girl that involves heart-to-heart conversations has a great likelihood of not working. After all, what really is there to discuss? Delorenzo also does a great job in balancing the serious nature of the questions (stated or not) at play and the humor that often occurs due to the imbalance of experience between the characters.

In the case of Greg Pierce’s play there actually is a bit to discuss and the exposition is handled deftly. Information is released reluctantly and at the right time with a good bit of audience interest necessary to tease out and discover what actually is going on. The teenage girl, Becky (Miranda Leeann Scholl), is difficult to trust. The mystery surrounding her present difficulty is not immediately clear nor is her role in the problem that she has. Her maternal uncle, Sterling (Christopher Bohan) is a mirror image of Becky in his own problems. Both have experienced social events that scar them and leave them ambivalent about engaging with people. The two are, however, forced to interact because of proximity and blood relations.

Becky is short for Rebecca, which is Hebrew for “a snare.” According to “Behind the Name,” Sterling can be a surname from the Scotish city of Stirling, whose meaning is lost to time; or the embodiment of the name for silver which, apparently, Norman coins bore, meaning “star.” A snare is a small trap for catching birds, and it is perhaps significant that the eponymous “Slow Girl” of the play is wearing bird wings at a party and claiming to be able to fly. The question remains, is Becky the snare or has she herself been ensnared.

Society has always been a prickly pear. Reading my literary history works that keep certain writings in context, one quickly learns that the social structures and opinions of a time period often had great influence on a writer: think Lord Byron or Percy Bysshe Shelley, etc. Nowadays the pressure has intensified with the almost claustrophobic presence of social media. Your failure to behave appropriately in virtually any circumstance can be the instantaneous trigger for your eternal damnation. It is no surprise, then, that these two characters find themselves ensnared in a milieu of their own making.

The play is about more than the events that place Becky and Sterling in their respective darkness, however. It is not a play about overcoming not the social response to an event, but to strengthening yourself to handle it: to confront what you have done, make a decision about its correctness, to gain confidence in your own certainty about events, and to move forward. In this regard, both characters need each other to do so. Before they can move forward, however, they need to expose themselves to each other, which means letting the crusty defensive exteriors break and fall apart.

While there are several ways that this is accomplished in the play, the most dramatic is the labyrinth on the floor—modeled on that of Chartres Cathedral, I believe. In this case, the labyrinth is a contemplative force: meditative. Like that in Chartres, you walk the path of the labyrinth and consider the trap you’ve found yourself in. Hopefully, through meditation, you’ll find your way clear to understanding your position: if not your way out. Labyrinths are everywhere in the past, from the maze that Daedelus hazards against the dreaded Minotaur to the spiral carvings on stones outside of Celtic barrows. We are always spiraling in and out of consciousness, in and out of this world, in and out of ourselves, in and out or own precarious situations and habits. This is a play about how two ensnared people help each other out. It is only through this lens that the ending can be appropriately understood.

The actors did a great job in this production and Laura Carlson Tarantowski’s set design is impeccable.

The Wizard of Oz

July 6th, 2009 1 comment

Ahhh, yes. Sunny childhood fuzzies. Went to see this yesterday at the Memorial Theatre in Mount Vernon, Ohio. My home town–well, one of them. Sorta like Grover’s Corners. Memorial Theatre was a part of my childhood landscape: from Ohio Miss pageants to early musicals and concerts. I was in Oliver at Memorial Theatre. Just walking in made me all tingly and I even got a bit misty with a certain reverence for theaters and realized that slowly, over time, a sort of religiosity has grown in me regarding them–and here was one from my youth. How fitting then that this was the very first theatrical experience for my little girl. Elizabeth, all of three years and eleven months, sat through three hours of The Wizard of Oz and was involved, attentive, even engrossed the whole time. As we left, me carrying her in my right arm, she looked me in the eye and said, "Daddy, that was a good video."


The performance was excellent. It truly was. It is easy to come down on community theater productions, and there were foibles in this one as in most, but I was quite honestly overcome by the community of it. The sheer magnitude of the thing: the cast (79 people and two dogs), the live orchestra, the tech crew, and the director, Bruce Jacklin, who made it all come together; it was impressive. The costumes and sets were magnificent (hats off to Susan Brown). And the tech was spectacular! There were flying monkeys, and a flying wicked witch of the west, and a floating Glinda the good witch (Carrie Crouch), and the tornado swirling everything, and much more. When I think on it, there is not a better performance that could have been picked for a little girl to see as her first show. So, in that regard, hats off to my mother, Susan Hayes, who picked it out.

And of course I was keenly aware and attentive to my little girl. For her reaction was at least as entertaining to me as the spectacle on the stage. And to this end, I’ll remark on the one event that impressed upon me the most–for the whole of it was a spectacle for her, and there were awe-filled moments and frightful moments and happy moments and moments were the sheer zen of the moment was filling her up. But for the frightful, the most terrifying moment was right at the beginning when Mrs Gulch (Marty Bell) comes to the farm to take Toto (Picard Swingle) from Dorothy (Shelby Gonzales). My daughter’s eyes and mouth turned into O’s and she looked at me as if I should go up on stage and do justice. When Gulch took that little dog… all around me in the audience I heard little people crying. The raw emotion of the event so impressed me that I myself began to tear up. It was an unexpectedly powerful moment that, as a playwright, I will not soon forget. Other moments that were of note included the battery of questions that little people shouted out time and again as they watched: "where did the house go?"; "where’s the wicked witch?" etc. That is, paying attention to what draws the eye, what gets attention.

The acting was great. Excellent performances were turned in by Hunk/Scarecrow (Aaron Moreland), Hickory/Tin Man (Mike Andrews), and Zeke/Lion (Matt Starr), as well as Professor Marvel/Oz (Chuck Ransom) and, of course, Mrs. Gulch/Wicked Witch. Some moments were uncannily close to the movie performances which, like it or not, was probably the yard stick that most people came in with–but they delivered.

I had a great time, and from the first act, through the intermission ice cream, right up to the return trip home, I know my daughter did too; and for me, that was the best part of it all.

Runs through July 12 in Mount Vernon, Ohio. If you’re close by, it is well worth the trip. For more information check out or

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