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a Drama
by Patrick Meyers

COMPANY : Catalyst Arts Atlanta [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Bakery Atlanta [WEBSITE]
ID# 5436

SHOWING : January 25, 2019 - February 10, 2019



Catalyst Arts Atlanta is excited to bring you an immersive experience like no other.

Not only will our guests be guided through a snow-covered base camp complete with sherpa tea, but they will also be thrust into the mountain itself alongside our actors with the help of a full cliff-side built vertically over the audience!

The setting is an icy ledge high up on K2, the world’s deadliest, second highest mountain. Two climbers, Taylor and Harold, are stranded at 27,000 feet, and Harold has suffered a broken leg in their precipitous descent. They have also lost one of their ropes, and the remaining one is neither long or strong enough to serve as a sling to lower Harold to the next ledge. As Taylor climbs back up the mountain in an attempt to recover the other rope, the two men keep up a running conversation which begins in a lighthearted vein but gradually shades into an absorbing discussion of the meaning and value of life.

This thrilling, challenging play uses mountain climbing as a metaphor to explore a deeper theme: the recognition that human beings are free to choose whether they will live or die and do so calmly and objectively, even under the most severe conditions.

Director Barrett Doyle
Taylor Joel Coady
Harold Dan Ford
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Asphyxia, Hypoxia, Dysphoria
by playgoer
Monday, February 18, 2019
You enter into "base camp," a patchouli-scented geodesic dome tent filled with mountaineering gear and with U.S., Nepalese, and Tibetan prayer flags. When the show is about to start, the stage manager (Shelby Mays) gives a brief rundown about K2, the second-tallest mountain in the world, and about mountaineering on K2. We’re then invited through a flap into the theatre space, after being advised to bring in supplied blankets for added warmth. The space is not heated (although "base camp" is).

Stage fog and dim blue light fill the playing space at the start, obscuring views of the magnificent set by director Barrett Doyle. It’s a cross between a geodesic dome and a jungle gym, constructed of tubular metal welded together in odd angles and featuring frosty plastic and sheet metal triangles. The face of the set and the ledge on which most of the action takes place are white simulated snow. The whole construction arches up toward the audience. Bennett Walton’s eerie musical score and sounds of wintry winds reverberate in the space. Then Maranda Debusk’s subtly colorful lighting design comes into play and we see two figures motionless on the ledge, covered by metallic blankets.

Taylor (Joel Coady) is an unmarried district attorney. Harold (Dan Ford) is a married physicist. Both are serious mountain climbers, having just summitted K2, although their history of mountain climbing is not mentioned in Patrick Meyers’ script. Their discussions are more of life in general and of the predicament they’re in: Harold has broken his leg in a fall, and they’re stuck on the ledge with their spare rope left behind above them. Seeing Mr. Coady make repeated attempts to scale the set and retrieve the rope is the highlight of physical activity in the play; Mr. Ford is pretty much glued to one spot.

The set, lighting, and sound are terrific, but so are the props by Liz Schad and the costumes by Mallory Champlin. The mountaineering gear gives a very realistic representation of life on a mountainside (although the amount of time gloves are off stretches credibility a bit, while at the same time ensuring the safety of the actors).

Barrett Doyle has directed the two actors to give heartfelt performances. Mr. Ford in particular is given chances to lighten the mood with accents and stories, and his portrayal of Harold touches the heart. Mr. Coady plays Taylor with a lot of anger and rage, the emotion sometimes making him difficult to understand, but he forms a believable bond with his fellow actor. The bond resonates with the ending metaphor of two quarks remaining entangled no matter the distance between them.

The show ends with the stage manager inviting us to reflect on what we’ve seen, then return to "base camp." There’s no curtain call, although the cast (and the entire production team) thoroughly deserve one.

"K2" has a script that is perhaps more cerebral than engaging in a biographical sense for the two characters, but Catalyst Arts Atlanta has created an immersive production that turns the play into an experience. The venue is not ideal, with warehouse noises outside the playing space intruding on what is supposed to be the icy vastness of an isolated mountain, but everything possible has been done to give the theatre-goer a memorable two hours that brings to life the story of two men facing imminent death. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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