“Everything You Touch” by Warehouse Theatre

Sheila Callaghan’s “Everything You Touch” couldn’t have been performed any better than that by the Warehouse Theatre Company. From beginning to end I was intrigued and wanting to see more and even got angry at the thought of an intermission.

The play begins in 1974 with famous clothing line owner Victor Cavarnaugh (Dalton Mobley) and one of his models, whom he treats like a rat. You won’t see her too much of her throughout the play. Victor is going through a mid-life crisis as his clothing line is suddenly declining and he needs to do something to pick it back up. Victor’s assistant/lover or “muse” as they liked to call her, Esme, is the back bone of his industry, his motivator, his biggest fan, but like his models, he treats her poorly as well.

In contrast to the time period we fast forward to a more modern time. Surely it is in the 21st century as the characters are eating at chipotle. In this time period Jess (Abilene Olson) is a computer software specialist and is going through what most may think is a horrific time in a person’s life. Her mother is dying. The problem lies in the fact, she has no sympathy and she doesn’t want to see her. Haven’t seen her in over a decade, her mother doesn’t even know what she looks like and she hasn’t heard from her. It’s not until she meets a man that will change her life forever and influence her to at least travel to see her mother in her dying bed.

“Everything You Touch” may have been written by Sheila Callaghan, but with Director, Linda Kennedy, it couldn’t have been a better show. However, with the way this play is written one person who plays a vital role was Sierra Hughes, the costume designer. The reason why is because with the constant time switch between the 70’s and the modern day, things have to go back in time and come back. One of the biggest differences in time change is the style. From open dress shirts and bell-bottoms to fitted jeans and polo, the costumes were surely on point. The time in which the actors had to dress was not normally lengthy sometimes something as simple as changing a jacket could get the job done.

The acting in the play was impeccable, however one that stood out to me was that of Dalton Mobley. As stated earlier Mobley played the character of Victor, and I’ll tell you he was an extraordinary actor. Mobley makes you feel the passion and love for fashion that Victor has for clothing. From the tone of his voice, to the way he walked, to the level of sarcasm, you felt as if you knew him. Playing a character that could be rather rude at times, it can be hard to actually stand out sometimes, however Mobley was clearly a star in the show. As a regular viewer of plays in Columbia, I would like to think that this was probably one of the best plays I’ve seen.

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“CAESAR” @ Mizzou

COLUMBIA- The Shakespearian play, “Julius Caesar,” presented by The Acting Company comes with a bit of twist under the direction of Devin Brain. The Greek play surely takes you back in time with the language and grammar used through the performance, but then things changed up.

The play’s costume designers, Jennifer Moeller and Christopher Metzger, were the main cause of the twist. Though the dialogue of the play took us back in time, the costume design brought us back to a modern era. In the early acts of the play, the lines of clothes are curvy and garments are loose fitting which gives the old look. Nonetheless, there comes a time in the play when war is about to commence that the costumes take a twist into the modern world.

During war, the costumes become tighter fit and have the modern army uniforms of today’s soldiers. Instead of sporting sandals and cloaks and fabrics of that nature, they wore modern army boots, t-shirts, bulletproof vests and sunglasses. The plot twist in costumes was different and a bit shocking, but it really modernized the entire world of the play.

With so much Greek dialogue through the entire play it required some amazing acting. One actor in particular who had an extraordinary performance was character Caius Cassius (William Sturdivant). Though the play is named after Julius Caesar, the main character, the plot, climax , and the conclusion of the play had to do with Sturdivant. With more lines than all of the other actors not a single flaw in his performance. Whether friend or foe, Sturdivant makes the audience understand the thoughts of his character Cassius. He may not be the crowd favorite as far as characters are concerned, but he is surely one of the better performers on the stage.

Presented in a half thrust stage and half proscenium stage setting the act surely engages it’s audience more than the normal act. As one of the audience participant who were seating on stage in the thrust stage setting, I had a different experience than those off stage in the proscenium stage. Those in the proscenium setting did not experience fourth wall communication like those in the thrust stage. The acts uses the people on stage as props and even interacts with them and makes them feel like they are witnessing the play from an actor’s perspective rather than an audience participant.

The tragic play was presented in a small area with a symmetrical setup. Scenes are changed by simply changing one or two items. Not sure if they were short staff, but actors would change their garments to become different characters, but nonetheless it was still great acting performed. I would definitely advise going to see this play if Greek plays with a bit of drama and action is your type of thing.

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“Memory Café”

“Memory Café”

 

Taking a trip down memory lane does not always have a predetermined outcome of how the person taking the trip will react. Bringing up old memories can make you laugh, smile, and even sometimes cry. Although, in context we use the term memory lane, the lane is only but in our heads that we travel down reminiscing the “good ole days,” because memories can come up at any time or any place.

In this 21st century drama, the play takes place in a local café of course called Memory Café. Being near a university, lots of students and even faculty come to the café. Like most cafés, it is an area for socializing, having meetings, and even meeting new people.

The play starts with two central characters, Jack (Curt Wohleber) and Annie (Simonita Simkins) who are minding their business when they meet a lovely waitress named Danielle (Hannah Atencio). Other groups of two enter the scene as the play goes. As the couples have their own personal conversations, they eventually become not so personal as they become. Eavesdropping is fairly common amongst those in the café, and after listening for so long, people can’t help but to give their two scents (opinion).

Michael Kelley who is the playwright of “Memory Café,” really keeps you on your toes. From the beginning of the play with a short anecdote of each characters background you feel that this diverse group of characters will be an interesting mix. The phrase of, “never judge a book by it’s cover,” was fairly evident in this play. Kelley leads his audience into thinking that play is heading in one direction, but later hands his a viewers a plot twist that will have them completely shook. Kelley makes his audience seem like a fly on the wall of Memory Café and just soaking everything up. You learn something about every character’s past and how it has molded them into the person they currently are.

Simkins who plays Annie brings her character to life. A rather older woman, comes off a bit sarcastic in the beginning of the play. Her responses to Jack and her facial expressions really gave off the vibe that she was not necessarily interested other conversations. As the play continues she becomes more open, she gives advice, she pulls the view closer as if you were her friend. She is great at showing her emotions rather it be happy, sad, sarcastic or passionate. Simkins’ character acts as if she has all the pieces together but she really doesn’t and Simkins helps the viewers to see this as the show goes on.

As someone who has never seen a stage reading play I was stunned at how great the performance was. All of the actors did a fantastic job. I thought there would be more reading and less acting but I was wrong. I felt the emotions of the actors. There were points at which the audience would laugh and there were times that made some fight back the tears. I definitely recommend people to go see Memory Café.

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