BWW Reviews: The Rep's Brilliant Production of THE OTHER PLACE
Playwright Sharr White has concocted a mesmerizing and brilliant piece of work with his play The Other Place. It's a mind-bending, non-linear narrative that's purposely disorienting, and absolutely hypnotizing to watch. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has constructed an amazing production of this work that's marked by top notch performances and direction. In other words, this is must-see theatre!
Dr. Juliana Smithton is giving a lecture on a new neurological drug in the Virgin Islands when she has an incident. During the course of the speech she sees things that may or may not be there, and at one point, she's simply unable to carry on. Back in the states, she claims it's the beginnings of brain cancer, something that apparently runs in her family. But, the real answer may be something else entirely.
Kate Levy is perfect as Juliana, neatly capturing the swings in mood and behavior that are affecting her ability to function. Our initial impression of Juliana is that she is one tough cookie who's had to use her intellect and tough demeanor to make a mark in her chosen profession. Her husband, an oncologist named Ian, well played by R. Ward Duffy, has witnessed changes in her personality that raise a red flag to him. And, it's only in a moment of extreme duress that Juliana herself can sense that something is terribly wrong. Amelia McClain and Clark Scott Carmichael do exceptional work in support as a variety of characters.
Rob Ruggiero's direction is smartly conceived and executed, and this strong cast does splendid work under his watch. He's aided by the moody lighting scheme of John Lasiter, along with the projections by William Cusick. Luke Hegel-Cantarella contributes a sleek, simple set that utilizes shards of wood as a backdrop. The overlapping placement of these pieces seems to fragment as it spreads across the back of the stage, mirroring Juliana's mental state. Dorothy Marshall Englis contributes the costumes that fit each of the characters well.
Once again the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has produced greatness, and I cannot recommend The Other Place highly enough. Go see it at the Loretto-Hilton in their Studio Theatre through February 9, 2014.