Monday, April 8, 2013

Brave New Words: Eudora's Box

Brave New Words: Eudora's Box

I just wanted to share the review of Thunder River Theatre Company's production of my play, "Eudora's Box," from their website:'sbox.htm

It was SO much fun, and I'll be ever grateful to Lon Winston, Valerie Haugen, and Brad Moore for believing in this project.

By Trina Ortega
Sopris Sun Contributor

As a regular patron to the Thunder River Theatre, I was a bit disoriented walking into the seating area on opening night of Kristin Carlson’s “Eudora’s Box.” The normal entrance was blocked, and seats were positioned on all sides of “the stage.” I was still a bit mixed up at intermission and tried to walk out where the stage fridge was positioned.

But it was exactly what Thunder River Theatre Company members Brad Moore (director of “Eudora’s Box”) and Lon Winston (set design) intended. The subtle but brilliant rearranging of the audience chairs, along with the deliberate darkness at the opening of Act I, put me in the shoes of a person dealing with Alzheimer’s, which is the basis for the play.
“Eudora’s Box” was TRTC’s 2010 New Play Development selection and celebrated its world premiere last week. It continues June 29-30 with a 7:30 p.m. curtain; July 1 with a 2 p.m. matinee; and July 5-7 (7:30 p.m. curtain).

The play centers around “Pop” and his three adult children. When Pop is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the kids swoop in to plan his future, including arrangements for assisted living and finances, down to every last penny. Meanwhile, Pop desperately searches for his wife Eudora’s “box.” But his children find it first and upon discovering the contents begin to delve into childhood memories and re-evaluate the person they knew as their mother.
It’s a bit scary to admit, but Carlson sheds light on how our own memories of events and people may not be in line with others’ recollection of the same events and people. I fight for “my memory” to be the correct version but, in fact, a sibling or friend may have a more accurate recollection. Scarier still, perhaps the stories of our lives begin to take on a little more fiction as time passes.

But as Pop questions: Is that really so bad?

At one point or another, each sibling deliberates this. Early on, the judgmental and controlling older sister, Faye (played bravely by Summer Thomas), sighs, “Nothing is ever how we remember it.” Thomas plays the role convincingly, creating an abrasive sibling whom we despise most of the time but can sympathize with in her struggle to forgive those who have “betrayed” her. “Can’t the little lies we tell ourselves be as good as truth?” she pleads.
G. Thomas Cochran’s portrayal of Pop is tender, sad and comical at times. We fight with him as he screams at the kids, “I’m right here, talk to me to my face.” We laugh with him as he describes his neighbor friend yelling at him as though he’s deaf (he wears ear plugs nearly the entire time). We respect him as though he’s our own wise ol’ Pop as he explains that he needs Eudora’s box to put the “missing puzzle pieces” of his brain back together.
Jeff Carlson plays Richard, the middle child, a son who constantly seeks his father’s approval, and his repugnance upon hearing intimate details about his parents’ loving relationship is both hilarious and relatable.

Sophie Sakson, however, steals the stage in her role as Lucy, the youngest child and Pop’s “favorite” (at least on the surface). Sakson has a natural presence and transforms her character into a sexy woman facing the reality that she may not even “know how to love.” Despite her promiscuous behavior and still-innocent view on life, we love Lucy for her optimistic attitude, honesty and accepting nature.

Nyle Kenning plays Lucy’s lover, Jarod, and their on-stage chemistry creates some steamy moments that should make Sakson’s real-life parents a bit nervous.
“Eudora’s Box” is a funny, heart-warming and heart-wrenching play featuring remarkable local professional talent (the playwright, acting and production).

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