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Where's Julie?, by Daniel Guyton
Julie is in another dimension!
Monday, January 30, 2012
"Where's Julie?" By Daniel Guyton is an interesting play. The point, I'm guessing, is to make the audience uncomfortable. And if that indeed was the case, they did a very good job of it. Throughout the play you see that the imagined "4th wall" between the audience and the stage is being lowered, and, by the end, is completely shattered. Starting when the running crew take over intermission and look out at you. The play begins when you find out that the fifteen year old title character, Julie, is pregnant. As the play continues, you realize that it is fathered by her 23, excuse me, 22 year old druggie boyfriend, Hector. Julie has run away from home to stay with her angry, bitter, older sister, Allison. Why does she do this? Because her home life is a mess. Her father, Harold, is an abusive, brain damaged old man. Her mother, Martha, is a neurotic, needy, old woman. and her younger brother, Jeff, is autistic. The only saving grace (pun intended) is her non-judgmental, super Catholic best friend, Margret.

The show, in itself, was good. The actors were a breath of fresh air, and the set was very nice. The director, Eileen Fulford, did an amazing job putting these actors together and making them understand their goals. Which, is a hard thing to understand in a play like this. The biggest hurtle this play had to jump over, was itself. The writing. Many points in this play make you wonder if the playwright had ever met a stoner, or an autistic kid, or even a Catholic. There are also a few plot holes here and there. The point he is trying to make is clear, the biggest hurtle of a writer, but it needs to be refined a bit. Overall, it is a good concept and a good show. You must give the writer some credit for trying to tackle a show like this. This concept is very hard to get right, and I think Daniel Guyton came very close.

Allison, Jennifer Gullick, and Hector, Josh Berwald, were a little soft spoken, which makes me think that they are more film actors. All of their movements and reactions were a little too small for the stage. They were both very good, but you can tell they were built for film. Julie, Amy Tallmadge, was wonderful! She played 15 like a pro and just kept giving more. Her character never faltered which made watching her a joyful experience. I absolutely -hated- Harold. Which just shows that Jerry Jobe portrayed his character beautifully. As for Martha, I think that Lory Cox was a bit over the top for my taste. With such a small theatre, her voice carries very well, and I found myself cringing in anticipation every time she spoke. Her acting was fantastic, but her volume could use a small adjustment. The Running Crew, Kevin Kreissl and Chris De Laet, were fantastic. Usually when this kind of thing is done, the side story takes away from the play. These actors laughed in the face of that and made their performance nothing less than flawless. Wallace Perry, who portrays Jeff, Julie's autistic little brother, was also wonderful. I found myself really caring about him throughout the show. When he cried, I cried. This can be a sensitive part to play, but I think that Wallace has accomplished that. That brings us to Margaret, Julie's Catholic best friend. Emily Arvidson plays this character like a harp. From the moment she walked out on stage, I loved her. She gets into character and stays there. Even when she is not speaking, she is doing -something- in the background. I found myself smiling every time she walked on. This part, like Jeff, is a touchy subject. It's hard not to come off like you're mocking Jesus and all of his followers, but Emily managed to make it hilarious, yet tasteful. A rare talent.

At the end of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. If not only because of the acting. This play is definitely worth seeing, and the 15 dollars it takes to see it. This show has one weekend left and I have a feeling that this show will age like a fine wine. The longer this cast has with the script, the better it will be.

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