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Dry Land
a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Ruby Rae Spiegel

COMPANY : Atlanta Theatre Club [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Windmill Arts Center
ID# 5388

SHOWING : November 02, 2018 - November 18, 2018

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Ester is a swimmer trying to stay afloat. Amy is curled up on the locker room floor. "Dry Land" is a play about abortion, female friendship, resiliency, and what happens in one locker room after everybody’s left.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

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Dripping
by playgoer
Sunday, November 18, 2018
4.0
The setting is a locker room, designed by Terea Abernathy with banks of lockers, a few benches, and various swim-related items. There’s a large opening upstage and a floor painted with squares and rectangles of tan and white. It’s very attractive and very reminiscent of a girls’ natatorium locker room. Costumes and props by Rebeca Robles reinforce this setting, with swimsuits aplenty, towels, and janitorial equipment.

At the start, we see abrasive Amy (Melissa McGrath) ordering meek Ester (Samantha Bankerd) to hit her in the stomach. Before too long, it becomes obvious that Amy is pregnant and is willing to try any home remedy abortion method she finds on the internet. Ester is so accommodating to Amy that it’s clear she has problems of her own; she’s a serious swimmer who has transferred from a first-rate high school with a rigorous swim program to a school with a mediocre swim program. The play focuses on the evolving relationship between Amy and Ester.

We also see some peripheral characters: Reba (Anna Williford), Amy’s best friend and teammate; Victor (Kevin Qian), a college boy who offers to house Ester when she travels for a swim tryout; and a janitor (Luke Eikens) who cleans up the locker room after a bloody scene (special effects makeup by Emily Pearse). The three-member stage crew (Emily Pearse, Alex Berardi, and Christina Forza) also show up, late in the intermissionless show, as fellow swim team members.

Director Rebeca Robles has gotten marvelous performances out of the entire cast. She has blocked the show with a lot of very natural movement. The only misstep I noted was when Ms. Bankerd seemed to anticipate one of Amy’s requests for a punch to her belly. Other than that, the show flows smoothly, and Ms. Bankerd’s subtle performance grows in power as the show goes on.

Short scenes predominate at the start of the play. Jennifer Silver’s sound design covers the scene transitions until Tara O’Neill’s lighting design brings up general lighting for the next scene. It’s a bit cinematic in structure, with vignettes establishing relationships little by little. Still, it works.

"Dry Land" is the kind of show that grows on you. Its focus on the problems of high school girls doesn’t seem terribly intriguing at first, and there’s a lot of roundabout conversation skirting the issues confronting them. With its slowly growing intensity, it eventually grabs full attention, even holding it during a scene in which the only action is the janitor mopping the floor. Credit the director and every single cast member for bringing Ruby Rae Spiegel’s quiet play to life. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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