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Singles in Agriculture

a Comedy
by Abby Rosebrock

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Discovery Point Studio [WEBSITE]
ID# 4965

SHOWING : September 16, 2016 - October 09, 2016



An unconventional convention, Singles in Agriculture, brings together lonely farmers looking for love… or the next best thing. When the Modern Family-obsessed, goat farmer Priscilla is slipped the key card to repressed dairy man Joel’s hotel room, an amorous encounter is expected. But like everything else on the farm, it’s hard to get the job done without stepping in something messy.

Director Justin Anderson
Joel Jeremy Aggers
Priscilla Lauren Boyd
Lois Vallea E. Woodbury
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Snuggles in Agriculture
by playgoer
Monday, October 3, 2016
Aurora Theatre’s black box theatre has an odd configuration, with two steel doors flanking an alcove with a non-working window on one side and a waist-level door on the other. For "Singles in Agriculture," the stage isn’t placed smack-dab in the middle of the space; instead, it’s built into a corner, with one of the steel doors exposed to audience members passing through to the seating and the other used for the actors to move to and from the dressing rooms. It’s as if you’re walking into a totally new space.

And the set is a stunner. Trevor Carrier has designed a beachy hotel room, complete with ceiling and bath, furnished with bed and chairs and artwork perfectly suiting the location. No costume designer is credited in the program, but the single outfits worn by each of the cast members work just as well as could be hoped. Ben Rawson’s lighting design has very natural effects, although the lighting operator was VERY late on an early cue in the show, when a switch was flicked and the person who flicked it was halfway across the room before the light came on. (It might have been a nice effect if there had been a flicker before the light came on fully, but that wasn’t the case.)

Rob Brooksher’s sound design consists mostly of radio playing and gunshots during the play, and it works quite well. The intro to the show is Jeremy Aggers getting dressed for a date (and spraying cologne), then exiting to the bathroom while pre-show announcements are made. Once the announcer leaves the stage, out comes Mr. Aggers from the bathroom to the sound of the toilet flushing. It’s a cute start to the action.

The action concerns Joel (Mr. Aggers), a struggling dairy cattle farmer, who has invited Priscilla (Lauren Boyd), a successful artisanal goat milk farmer, up to his room on the last night of a Singles in Agriculture convention. She is expecting a booty call; he declares he simply wants to talk in a quieter environment than the hotel lobby. His unease is palpable. As they talk and argue and apologize, we learn more and more about each of them. The accidental discharge of a gun brings security guard Lois (Vallea E. Woodbury) into the picture, and only then do we grasp the full import of Joel’s unease. One ending twist makes us question if this is really the comedy promised us; the final twist makes us happily conclude that it is.

The acting is top-rate across the board. Ms. Boyd is sweet and sexy and forward as Priscilla, while Mr. Aggers lets Joel’s true emotion show through his every action. Ms. Woodbury comes in as a breath of fresh Texas air to wind up the play, and the easy interplay between her and Mr. Aggers works beautifully, as does Ms. Boyd’s reaction to them hitting it off. There’s a lot of heart in the show, hidden under the guarded interactions that make up most of the play. Director Justin Anderson needs to be congratulated on putting together a production that works this well and that uses the black box space so successfully. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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