Review: EDEN PRARIE 1971-An Outstanding Drama that Deftly Portrays Turmoil in the Early 70's

Review: EDEN PRARIE 1971

By: Oct. 26, 2022
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Review: EDEN PRARIE 1971-An Outstanding Drama that Deftly Portrays Turmoil in the Early 70's

"What good is it to worry about tomorrow or yesterday?" By Mrs. Thompson in Eden Prairie 1971

New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) in Long Branch is now presenting the National New Play Network premiere of Eden Prairie, 1971. Crafted by the award-winning playwright, Mat Smart, the story is enthralling from the first minute to the last. The play features splendid direction by the theatre's Associate Artistic Director, Evan Bergman, and a cast that masters their roles. Because of its adult themes, no one under the age of 16 will be admitted to the show.

In the small town of Eden Prairie, Minnesota in 1971, the Vietnam War has dramatically affected people's lives. Pete, a draft dodger and a sensitive young man, makes the long trip from Canada by foot to see his high school classmate Rachel and deliver a message from their friend. Rachel's father is serving in the war, and she has left a promising college education to support her mother. The couple meets in Rachel's yard on the same night as the historic moon landing. Their conversation about the war, duty, family issues, and personal aspirations reveals innermost thoughts. The story is an authentic reflection of a challenging era. Audiences will find the play to be moving, yet with the right touches of humor and spirit.

Review: EDEN PRARIE 1971-An Outstanding Drama that Deftly Portrays Turmoil in the Early 70's

The three-person cast brings Eden Prairie 1971 to life on the Long Branch stage with their remarkable acting talents. The company includes Emilio Cuesta as Pete, Oriana Lada as Rachel, and Andrea Gallo as Rachel's mother, Mrs. Thompson. Compelling scenes include Rachel's first encounter with Pete in her family's yard; Pete telling of their friend Aaron's fate in the war; Rachel speaking about the protests at Berkeley when she was in college; Rachel offering Pete clean clothing; Pete telling about the farm where he worked in Canada; Pete remembering Minnesota Twins baseball plays; Rachel and Pete discussing their high school Spanish project; Rachel imploring Pete to call his mother; Mrs. Thompson tenderly cajoling Rachel to wear her hair down; and Mrs. Thompson speaking of the ravages of war.

Review: EDEN PRARIE 1971-An Outstanding Drama that Deftly Portrays Turmoil in the Early 70's

The production team has done a marvelous job of setting the stage for the play. The team includes the Production Stage Manager, Kristin Pfeifer; Costume Design by Patricia E. Doherty; Sound Design, Nick Simone; Scenic Design/Props, Jessica Parks; Lighting Design, Jill Nagle; Assistant Stage Manager, Rachael Malloy; Assistant Lighting Design/Assistant Director, Janey Huber; Master Electrician, James Lockhart; Technical Director, Brian Snyder; Scenic Design Assistant, Donna Stiles; and Props Assistant, Blake Robinson.

In his opening address to the audience, Executive Producer, Gabor Barabas proudly told the audience that as NJ Rep approaches its 25 anniversary the theatre has presented 150 world premieres with over 3,000 performances many of which have gone on to be seen in theatres worldwide. Eden Prairie 1971 is a shining example of the extraordinary productions that NJ Rep brings to the Garden State.

New Jersey Repertory Company is located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch. The theatre entrance is in the rear of the building where there is plenty of free parking. Eden Prairie 1971 runs for 95 minutes with no intermission. Performances are October now through November 20th on Thursdays and Fridays 8pm; Saturdays 3pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 2pm. Patrons can purchase tickets by calling NJ Rep at 732-229-3166 or by visiting Subscriptions for the 2022-2023 season are now available that include their Annual Subscription, a Monthly Subscription and a Flex Pass.

Photo Credit: Andrea Phox Photography