BWW Review: Theatre in the Park's A LIFE IN THE THEATRE Celebrates a Life Lived in the Theatre
If the Theatre in the Park production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL can be compared to a Christmas gift for Triangle families, then it might be said that the company's pre-Valentine's Day offering of A LIFE IN THE THEATRE is like a love letter to the sanctuary of storytelling and art otherwise known as the theater.
Like a metaphorical seesaw, the play explores the ups and downs of life in the theater from the point of view of Robert, a veteran of the stage, and John, a young up-and-comer. Penned by wordsmith David Mamet, A LIFE IN THE THEATRE is a humorous exploration of the sacrifices made, and lessons learned, from pursuing a career on stage.
And who better to tell that story than Ira Wood III who plays Robert? After all, like the Triangle's own version of P.T. Barnum, Wood pitched his "tent" at Theatre in the Park in 1974, where he has performed, directed, and shaped the artistic landscape of this community ever since. His son Ira David Wood IV, who stars opposite his father in this production, grew up watching both his parents perform at Theatre in the Park and now serves as its assistant artistic director. And that's what is so effective and noteworthy about this production, that it is rich with both the familial and stage history these two seasoned performers bring to the table.
There are a LOT of costume and scene changes throughout this production, 15 in total, and some of those transitions take a little too long and disrupt the flow of the show.
Otherwise, though, this production feels like a historic moment for Theatre in the Park, a rite of passage of sorts. In fact, Robert's soliloquy at the end of the show is more of a personal homage from David to an institution that clearly has meant so much to him, a snapshot of an extraordinary life lived that should not be missed.
A LIFE IN THE THEATRE runs through February 24th at Theatre in the Park. For more information visit: https://www.theatreinthepark.com/.