Quote of the Day: The more I delved into this piece the more it became about memory and how it can shift and change. Megan Hipwell became the most interesting character to me – a woman who only appears in the reconstituted memories of people in her life. In the play, Kamal Abdic says, “You can’t obliterate a memory, it’s always there in the shadows.” from Director Anna J. Crace
Ooo. This is a good one, folks. You might wonder, as I did, how they were going to translate the best-seller thriller The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins to a stage adaptation. Especially, since this one takes place inside the heads of the characters. We hear Meg Hipwell (Ninchai Nok-Chiclana) speaking to us from the ether. We watch as Rachel Watson (Laura Baker) wrestles with her memories and experiences of people, places and events. Did alcohol really muddy those memories, or was it something else? We wonder just how closely connected Rachel is to her ex-husband Tom (Jonathan Feld) and his new wife Anna (Grace Hillmyer). Did she simply make up a life and storyline for the people she watches from the train? What does she really know about Megan and her husband Scott (Jack Bonko) whom she names Jess and Jason, and looks at them as the idyllic couple? And, how close was the psychologist Kamal Abdic (Austin Moores) to his patient? Detective Gaskill (Doc Woods) has his work cut out for him.
I listened to the audio of this book a few years ago, so my memory of the details was gone. Although, I remembered the characters, I didn’t remember how it all unfolded, and all the surprises interwoven in this story. Hawkins did a brilliant job with the novel, and Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel did a fantastic job with the stage adaptation. They bring out the best scenes and give us all the unreliable characters that keep us wondering what really happened. Anna Crace did a marvelous job of directing this fascinating show. She has the characters moving closer and farther apart, getting in each other’s way, and changing direction. The set (Chad Van Kekerix), sound (Emily Ludewig) and lighting/projection design (Jim Eischen) are all integral in telling this story and enhancing the experience. Megan speaks through memories and the past as they project her onto multiple screens. We see the actors reacting to what she’s saying and their memories of her. The sound builds the suspense and sets time and place, the London Tube as well as apartments and homes. The lights around this dynamic set give the impression of the moving train, the dangers, and the distractions.
This show is so wonderfully cast. All of the actors embody their characters, giving them mystery and intrigue. Laura Baker is exactly how I pictured Rachel Watson to look and act. Everyone has secrets and keeps things from each other, the way a good mystery/thriller should be! The creative team at Lyric Arts has somehow combined the feeling of reading a book and getting into the characters’ heads with the dynamic elements of film to the intimacy of a live performance. This is a must-see!
You can see The Girl on the Train at Lyric Arts in Anoka, MN through February 5, 2023. Do not wait to get your tickets!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Compare a memory you share with someone, a sibling, a friend or partner. How are the details the same and different?
The Twin Cities Theater Bloggers have some exciting events coming up for 2023. First up is Prom Date at the Chanhassen! Join us for their upcoming production of The Prom on March 4, 2023. Click on this link for The Prom or enter the discount code TCTB1 for $20 off your lunch/show price for the Saturday matinee performance on March 4. We’ll be hosting a talk-back after the show. Hope to see you there! If you can’t make that performance, check out other dates and showtimes at The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.