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Review: START DOWN at Centenary Stage through 4/24 is Entertaining and Relevant

"Isn't it fun figuring things out for ourselves?"

-Start Down

The Centenary Stage Company in Hackettstown is currently presenting Start Down, an entertaining and timely play. Wonderfully written by Eleanor Burgess with superb direction by Margo Whitcomb, the show is a part of the company's "2016 Women Playwrights Series." This production has a universal appeal as it addresses the intriguing subject of technology in education while revealing an intimate view of the people behind a project.

In Start Down, Will is a software developer who is influenced by his girlfriend Sandy's career as a teacher to create a company that will revolutionize education. The company's computer programs would allow students to progress independently and eliminate the need for direct teacher and student interaction. Will relies on the help of tech wiz, Matty and the financial funding for the business from a friend, Adam. The situation becomes complicated when Adam's investment in the startup jeopardizes his relationship with his fiancé, Karen who is also a teacher. And because Sandy is so dedicated to the art of teaching and mentoring students, including a young man Jesse, she becomes skeptical about the educational value of Will's company. The play cleverly challenges both the appeal and invasiveness of technology.

The five-person cast completely captures the essence of their roles with performances that bring to light the passion people feel for their work and how their personal relationships can be affected. They include Tim Liu as Will; Molly Densmore as Sandy, Jeanine T. Abraham as Karen; Christopher J. Young as Adam; Donald Danford as Matty and Gabriel Robinson as Jesse.

The Artistic Staff has done a fantastic job of bringing Start Down to the Hackettstown stage with set design by Jonathan Collins, lighting design by Joyce Liao, costume design by Ashleigh Poteat, sound design by John Salutz and projections by Jon Young. The stage manager is Danielle Constance. Start Down creates a total multimedia experience that includes original animations built specifically for the production.

Educators will appreciate the theme of Start Down, but the show will be appreciated by many more. Cleverly crafted and completely relevant, it is a finely staged production that we hope will go far.

Start Down runs through April 24 in the intimate Edith Kutz Theatre of the Lackland Center, located on the campus of Centenary College at 715 Grand Avenue in Hackettstown, New Jersey. For more information or to purchase tickets visit or call the CSC box office at (908) 979 - 0900. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 - 5pm and 2 hours prior to every performance. Centenary Stage Company can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo Credit: Bob Eberle

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