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Alliance Rep’s “The Pavilion”
by Sherri Rase      |   follow us...

   
photo by Howard Fischer
scene from "The Pavilion"
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Alliance Repertory Theatre Company kicks off 2016 in a big way with Craig Wright’s “The Pavilion.” Under the direction of artistic director Mike Driscoll, this cast of three is most powerful. Part of Wright’s Pine City series of plays, all set in Minnesota, “The Pavilion” catches a star-crossed pair at one of those DNA-type spirals that keeps bringing certain people back to us until we get something right—though that “right” may not be aligned with what we’ve always dreamed.
Brad Howell is the Narrator, but he should also be called “cast of thousands.” He’s initially our interlocutor, but literally becomes all of the characters with whom Peter (Erik Gaden) and Kari (Sarah Kuhns) interact at their 20th High School Reunion. There was a scandal between them Back Then that pours kerosene on the usual flames of “what will happen when they see one another again,” after having been voted the Cutest Couple during their high school years.
Howell is also the Sound Designer for this production and the music and effects are pitch-perfect. The song selection, as well as sounds of a summer night, perfectly score the evening. When I attended opening weekend, it was a veritable Who’s Who(m) of the New Jersey theatre community, as well as people who came into this very intimate space for that most human of activities–storytelling.
Peter comes back to his hometown for the reunion; Kari has never left. They have continued to think about one another–Peter with great longing, Kari with equally great anger. Wright has written a very real, very emotional play that ignites in the performances of these actors. When the resolution comes, it’s not what you expect. That’s how this play mirrors real life. Considering that Wright has also penned episodes for “Lost” and “Six Feet Under,” it will make you hungry for more.
Arrive early for supper–there is a thriving downtown scene in Summit, New Jersey, an easy walk from the theatre. This brilliantly-performed, well-written show ends its run at MONDO Summit on January 23, so head to www.alliancerep.org for tickets now. Make sure you’re not left out in the cold.

 

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