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Homers

a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Jacob York

COMPANY : Georgia Ensemble Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Georgia Ensemble Theatre and Conservatory [WEBSITE]
ID# 4688

SHOWING : February 26, 2015 - March 15, 2015

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

In this story where fan-dom and family intersect, we meet Leigh Elder, a female sports writer for a major metro Atlanta newspaper. She’s a homer: love and loyalty to the Braves, the Hawks, and the Falcons. When a dream job falls into her lap and promises to take her to the big-time of L.A., she is thrilled. The only thing that stands in the way is her biggest fan: her father. Can a homer ever really leave home? Devotion can be tough in the big leagues!


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Jaclyn Hoffman
Doyle Rob Cleveland
Claire Jennifer Lamourt
Pat Frank Roberts
Trey Jeffrey Stephenson
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REVIEWS

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One Strike to Go
by playgoer
Thursday, March 5, 2015
2.5
Jacob York’s "Homers" is targeted at Atlanta sports fans. BOY, is it targeted at Atlanta sports fans. The opening of the show is a lecture on the history of Atlanta sports teams, and the first act is overloaded with sports references. If the intention is to orient non-sports fans into the world of Atlanta sports fandom, it’s overkill.

The situation of "Homers" is fairly simple: Leigh Elder has made a splash writing a newspaper article about a high school athlete dying of an unexpected heart attack, and a colleague has offered her a higher-paying blog job in Los Angeles, her acceptance of which is complicated by her widowed father’s recent stroke. In the last minutes of the show, she comes up with a solution that allows her to have it all. That solution seems to be a long time coming.

There are some interesting concepts in telling the story: a count-down clock that suddenly goes back over a year to indicate a flashback scene; a stroke victim who appears to show no physical manifestations of the stroke; a brother (Michael Van Osch) whose appearance is only via Skype sessions. They all work, with the stroke victim concept allowing Frank Roberts a wonderful scene as Leigh’s feisty father that is the highlight of the show.

None of the characters seem fully dimensional. Rob Cleveland isn’t given a lot to do as Leigh’s editor, Doyle, and Jennifer Lamourt’s portrayal of the obsequious intern Claire tends to be grating throughout the first act. Jeffrey M. Stephenson, as the job-offering Trey, appears to be channeling Jacob York’s acting style, but doesn’t seem fully believable in the role. The standout is definitely Diany Rodriguez, who has a great audience rapport and inhabits the central role of Leigh.

Stephanie Polhemus’ scenic design has a stadium feel, incorporating elements of football (goalposts at either side), baseball (a scoreboard up center), and basketball (a net graphic above the scoreboard). Screens upstage allow the display of graphics, including phone texts, Skype calls, and the countdown clock. Tara O’Neill’s lighting design illuminates the action appropriately, as it switches from father Pat’s home stage right to the newspaper office stage left to the multipurpose area center. Furnishings, however, are drab to the point of ugliness. Costume designer Marie Estes isn’t given much to do in providing current-day clothes.

Director Jaclyn Hoffman has made the choices of having cellphone conversations turn into face-to-face interactions, which works, and of having a drive-through voice emanate from the right of and above the apparent driver, which is confusing. She keeps the show moving, but she can’t add interest to the underlying material. "I don’t want to leave home" is a bit weak for Leigh’s motivation, and that’s all we’re ultimately given, aside from clichés about the call of "legitimate" journalism. By having it all at the end, Leigh is telling us that the preceding action of the play was ultimately meaningless. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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