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The Velocity of Autumn

a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Eric Coble

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 5044

SHOWING : March 03, 2017 - March 18, 2017

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN swirls around Alexandra, an 80-year-old artist in a showdown with her family over where she’ll spend her remaining years. In Alexandra’s corner are her wit, her volcanic passion, and the fact that she’s barricaded herself in her Brooklyn brownstone with enough Molotov cocktails to take out the block. But her children have their own secret weapon: estranged son Chris, who returns after 20 years, crawls through Alexandra’s second-floor window and becomes the family’s unlikely mediator. No sooner are the words “Hi, Mom” uttered than the emotional bombs start detonating. THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN is a wickedly funny and wonderfully touching discovery of the fragility and ferocity of life.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Carolyn Choe
Alexandra Dianne Butler
Chris John Stanier
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REVIEWS

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Fall Fell Fast
by playgoer
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
3.5
The two-hander "The Velocity of Autumn" takes place in the second-floor apartment of elderly Alexandra (Dianne Butler), who has decided to stock up on Molotov cocktails to resist the attempts of her children to remove her to a retirement home. The set, designed by Bob Whaley, has a blocked-off entry door to the apartment at stage left and a window at stage right, flanking what apparently is the door to a fairly narrow kitchen. The apartment number is 2, suggesting that the apartment takes up the entire second floor, but the layout makes sense only if the floor is split into multiple apartments. That said, the set is nicely constructed, with a leafless tree outside the window in full view throughout the show.

Bradley Rudy’s lighting design starts with dappled shadows on the walls of the set, light pouring through the window to paint shadows on the floor. Once the play gets going, there are no lighting effects needed. The design, though, beautifully transitions lighting at the beginning and end to sweeten the initial and final moments.

The longish play takes place without an intermission. The storyline follows the discussions between the elderly woman, an artist, and her long-estranged gay son (John Stanier) as he attempts to persuade her to leave the apartment. There’s a lot of baggage to deal with before the sentimental ending arrives.

Carolyn S. Choe has directed the play to have a variety of movement and to keep the momentum going. The acting is good, with Mr. Stanier showing range and nuance in his reactions. Ms. Butler has created more of a one-note performance, and I found her bouncy ponytail and broad Midwestern vowels a bit grating. Still, Eric Coble’s story comes across strong and clear.

Family dynamics between a recalcitrant mother and her black sheep son are ripe territory for drama, while the fading faculties of the mother provide ground for occasional sparks of comedy. "The Velocity of Autumn" goes by smoothly, its drama leavened by comedy and sentimentality, but it does not leave an indelible memory. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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