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The Spins

a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Sara Crawford; music by Bennett Walton

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Out of Box Theatre at Artisan Resource Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 4843

SHOWING : January 22, 2016 - January 31, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Julian Verner directs "The Spins," a play by local writer and musician Sara Crawford, which weaves a haunting tale of unimaginable loss. Musician Lynn (Kathrine Barnes) nurses wounds both old and new - the death of her brother Riley and the more recent loss of love. Unable to escape even in her sleep, Lynn’s grief plays out on two planes of existence. As her best friend Melissa (Chelsea Steverson) tries to intervene in reality, Dream Lynn (Jessie Kuipers) is imprisoned with the uncomfortable memories that Lynn cannot process. Her drunken, emotional vertigo is underscored throughout by the spinning of a record on a turntable, one of her only links back to her brother.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director A. Julian Verner
Stage Manager Meghan B Zern
Lynn Kathrine Barnes
Keenan Jeremy Crawford
Riley Barrett Doyle
Dream Lynn Jessie Kuipers
Melissa Chelsea Steverson
Guitarist Bennett Walton
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Lady in the Dark
by playgoer
Saturday, January 23, 2016
2.5
All drinking! All smoking! All music! All self-pity! "The Spins" is the depressing story of Lynn, who dreads her upcoming 27th birthday, since she fancies herself a musician (even though she refuses to touch the piano), and many of her idolized rock musicians (Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, et al.) died at 27. The action takes place primarily in the dreams of her alcohol-addled brain.

This is very similar in concept to the 1941 Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin musical "Lady in the Dark," down to the ending that revolves around the heroine’s facing up to the memory of a musical phrase. In the musical, though, the dream sequences are production numbers and provide the only music in the show. Here, the music underscores much of the action, and it’s low-key indie rock in spirit.

The music is provided primarily by Bennett Walton, a virtuoso on the electric guitar, accompanied sometimes by Jessie Kuipers on piano and Barrett Doyle on a variety of instruments. Mr. Walton plays a character seemingly inspired by guitarist/songwriter Jeff Buckley, who drowned in the Mississippi River in 1997. This character haunts Lynn’s dreams. While the script makes some reference to singing, the score provided by Mr. Walton is strictly instrumental. There are a handful of recurring melodies, but they tend to blend in with the improv-sounding music played before the show and during the intermission.

A. Julian Verner has staged the show on a reduced-size stage, with two rows of audience seats taking up stage right. The booze-cluttered bedroom of Lynn (set and props by Maya Hublikar) provides the primary playing area, although action spills off the stage at various times. A lot of action occurs with actors sitting or lying on the floor of the stage, which can cause sightline problems for anyone not sitting in the front row. There’s a lot of movement in the blocking, but it tends to be cluttered when the full cast is onstage.

Performances are wonderful. Jessie Kuipers and Barrett Doyle play sister and brother in dream/memory sequences with delightful chemistry and compelling character choices. Chelsea Steverson adds a lot of spirit to her role as Lynn’s lesbian friend, making a remarkably effective quick change from high school age to late twenties at one point. Jeremy Crawford has wonderful stage presence as Lynn’s boyfriend, and Bennett Walton interacts with real-life Lynn and dream Lynn in a natural fashion.

The lighting design by Nina Gooch highlights action nicely as it moves around the stage and into the aisle. Colored lights sometimes glow on the backdrop behind the window onstage, drawing unnecessary attention to the artificiality of the background. Her job at intermission is complicated by the continuous music, which requires light onstage, while simultaneously requiring light for the audience. At the performance I attended, many audience members seemed uncertain if they had permission to get up and move around. Once they realized it was okay, some didn’t return after intermission. Sara Crawford’s "The Spins" does not speak to everyone. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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