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BWW Feature: MASH NOTE TO FACING EAST at Richmond Triangle Players

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BWW Feature: MASH NOTE TO FACING EAST at Richmond Triangle PlayersI have willingly followed Richmond Triangle Players to many places. There was Fieldens Cabaret, of course--talk about "up a steep and very narrow stairway"! I'm not the kind of person who routinely worries about fire safety, but you couldn't help it at that place.

Then there was the year of wandering in the desert, when the company performed at the Gay Community Center of Richmond, Highwaters Restaurant, HATTheatre, Metropolitan Community Church and TheatreGym at the Empire Theatre.

At TheatreGym, during the run of "Scrooge in Rouge," there was a poster in the lobby showing the floor plan of RTP's then-under-construction future home at 1300 Altamont Avenue. There were two seating configurations shown; it seemed like a dream.

Then in 2010, during the Acts of Faith Festival, RTP opened the new space. The work chosen for the debut was "Facing East," a 2007 play by Carol Lynn Pearson that had premiered in Utah and gone on to New York and San Francisco.

This beautiful work was uniquely suited to the moment. With painful honesty and--dare I say it?--balance, Pearson examines the grief of a traditional Mormon couple whose son Andrew has committed suicide because his relationship with a lover led to his excommunication from the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

Julie Fulcher-Davis directed this beauty with great sensitivity, and her actors' performances were moving and painfully real. Daniel Moore and Melissa Johnston Price were the bereaved parents Alex and Ruth, just after Andrew's funeral, dignified and devastated and torn. Peter O'Shanick had a brief role as the son's lover, whom Alex and Ruth had not previously met. And through the magic of John Knapp's set and David A. McLain's lighting, the parents flashed back to conversations they had had with Andrew, revealing key moments of their relationship.

Instead of my gushing, here are links to a lovely brief video by Andrew Cothern of Moore and Johnston Price discussing the show, and a short, fascinating 2007 profile of Pearson by Steven Winn in SFGate.

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From This Author Susan Haubenstock