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Second Samuel
a Comedy/Drama
by Pamela Paker

COMPANY : Main Street Theatre Tucker [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Tucker Recreation Center
ID# 4925

SHOWING : October 07, 2016 - October 16, 2016



“Second Samuel”, a comedic drama by Pamela Parker, reminds us that everybody’s got secrets, especially folks in the sleepy little town of Second Samuel in South Georgia in the late 1940s. Will anything ever be normal again?

Producer Merle Halliday Westbrook
Director Jan Jensen
Omaha Sabrina Chambers
Mr. Mozel Bill Hines
Frisky John Lukens
U.S. Brent Mason
Mansel Jonn McDaniel
June Jim Nelson
Ruby Denise Payton
B. Flat Zachary Roe
Jimmy Deeanne Christa Sfameni
Marcela Hayley Walter
Doc Paul White
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Stage Presence
by playgoer
Monday, October 10, 2016
The production of Pamela Parker’s "Second Samuel" by Main Street Theatre Tucker is loaded with actors who exude stage presence. Director Jan Jensen has gotten them to make strong choices that enable them all to create indelible characters. These actors, with the possible exception of understated Brent Mason as U.S., seem quite comfortable onstage, but have suppressed any urges to take the spotlight alone and have instead used their performances to support the production as a whole.

That’s not to say that this is a professional-level production. Far from it. Cue pickup is often slow, and not all actors in a scene are working at the same level, vocally or emotionally. The big problems, though, are at the technical level, under the supervision of technical directors Randy Davison and Charles Wasmer. The rather complicated lighting scheme was poorly operated at the performance I attended, with the wrong side of the stage illuminated many times during scenes that alternated action on both sides. Spotlighted sections of the stage didn’t always match an actor’s location exactly. Amplified sound was far better than the lighting, but sound levels were not always equivalent for all actors onstage, with tweaks in sound level apparent after a line was started.

The set is no more than serviceable. The beauty shop stage right and the bar/bait shop stage left are nicely furnished, but the right angles of their walls prevent the decorations on one or the other of the side walls from being seen from the sides of the audience. The brick stoop center stage is wider than it needs to be, and a lot of blocking involves people sitting, even on the lip of the three-foot-high stage, which causes sightline problems for audience members, who all sit on the same level.

Carrie McGuffin’s costumes are fine, helping to define character. But it’s the acting that makes the characters individual and indelible. Zach Roe, in the central role of B Flat, is as beautifully at ease in talking to the audience as he is awkward in interactions with the town folk. John McDaniel, John Lukens, Bill Hines, and Jim Nelson all come across strong in the bar interactions, as do Sabrina Chambers, Merle Halliday Westbrook (a replacement Marcela at the performance I attended), Denise Payton, and Christa Sfameni in the beauty shop. All the others make positive impressions in their smaller roles.

In "Second Samuel," the collection of characters is used to tell a story with a terrific first act ending and a heartwarming conclusion of the second act. Jan Jensen has directed the show to bring out the story, emphasizing comedy when it’s called for (which is a lot of the time) and sincerity when it’s needed. The entertaining script is allowed to exhibit its merits, which is really all one can ask of a production. The audience was quite involved at the performance I attended, chattering with eagerness after the first act-ending revelation and applauding lines that support cultural inclusiveness. And when the show ends with a finely-sung hymn led by the sweet-voiced Christa Sfameni, the entertainment ends on a tender note and with a standing ovation. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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