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BWW Reviews: FIVE MILE LAKE Has Great Depth

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Simply put, FIVE MILE LAKE is five-mile deep. Rachel Bonds's well-written script reinforces the importance that people need the courage to look inward at themselves and their relationships and be humble enough to accept what they might see.

Emily Mann expertly directed a five-person cast whose traits, situations, and hopes are ones that are found in people and relationships more often than not. This play has relevance, as viewers will recognize personal traits. Even though the characters are all twenty-somethings, the manner that they address their relationships between siblings, lovers and friends bely attributes that span many ages. The actors are brilliant and convincing in their roles.

The setting is a fictional sparsely populated small town near a lake in Scranton, Pennsylvania in the dead of winter. Mary and Jaime, two bakery employees, have disparate views of their town and are uncertain about what lies ahead for them in life. The commonality in life of such uncertainty and their relationships with their brothers (Mary with Danny, Jaime with Rufus) is a magnet that draws in the audience from the start.

Jamie's older brother Rufus and his girlfriend Peta's arrival in town create additional interpersonal dynamics among pairs. In real-life situations, people act and react differently depending on with whom they are speaking. Such was the case here, as degrees of openness and honesty varied, depending the company.

The play is coincidental as a Mothers Day production. Jamie's dedication to his aging and ailing mother and Mary's motherly commitment to her brother resonate with honoring moms at this time. The performance also includes humorous moments, such as Rufus' testing a phase he suggested Jamie use on Mary to influence her emotions.

Though set in winter, the actors exude warmth in their genuine portrayal of their characters. They are real. Real good. The engaging nature of this production extended beyond the superb acting. The set design depicts actual places. The bakery is a replica of ones seen in small towns. The lakeside setting creates intimacy. The music during transitions is soothing.

FIVE MILE LAKE is a poignant reminder that what's on the surface isn't always what's underneath, whether it's a half-frozen lake or an emotion.

Cast of characters (in order of speaking): Mary: Kristen Bush; Jamie: Tobias Segal; Rufus: Nathan Darrow; Peta: Mahira Kakkar; Danny: Jason Babinsky.

Set design: Edward Pierce; costume design: Jennifer von Mayrhauser; lighting design: Jeff Croiter; original music and sound design: Daniel Perelstein; casting director: Caparelliotis Casting; associate artistic director: Adam Immerwahr; production stage manager: Cheryl Mintz.

Director of Production: David York; managing director: Timothy J. Shields.

FIVE MILE LAKE is playing at the McCarter Theater Centre, located at 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ, through May 31. Ticket information can be found at www.McCarter.org or by calling the Box Office at 609-258-2787.

Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson


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Dr. Byron has accomplished the educational leadership trifecta: superintendent in public schools, headmaster in private schools, and head of school in charter schools. In addition, (read more...)

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