Quote of the Day: There are 84 character changes in the play, and two extraordinary performers are challenged to a fantastic dance of personality, emotional, physical and vocal shifts that advance the story. Playwright Marie Jones playfully provokes us with richly delineated characters, loads of imagination and a story that delights and touches us deeply. Marcela Lorca, director of Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones, on stage at Theater Latté Da, through 2/25/24.
Those two extraordinary actors are Tom Reed and Reed Sigmund. They are fascinating to watch as they seamlessly shift between characters and scenes, always clear on who they are and where we are in the story. Stones in His Pocket, with music composition by Jason Hansen, is a nearly perfect play.
Stones in His Pockets was first staged at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast in June 1999 before moving to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Tricycle Theatre, London, in August 1999. It transferred to London’s West End in May 2000 and won the 2001 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. It moved to Broadway in 2001 and was nominated for three Tony Awards. (from the article in the playbill for Stones in His Pockets at Theater Latté Da)
In the play Stones in His Pockets, two men Charlie (Tom Reed) and Jake (Reed Sigmund) meet on the movie set for a big Hollywood picture in the bucolic setting of Kerry County Ireland. Charlie and Jake are our main characters, but Tom and Reed play all the rest of the characters, as well. They are so good at what they do, changing their voices, stance, attitudes, and a slight costume change, like glasses or a scarf, to distinguish characters. The story flows along quickly. We see their friendship flourish, then get challenged. We see each of them trying to be part of something bigger than themselves, and we see the conflict of big corporation building a fantasy world to that of the realities of life in the country and the importance of community. The show is billed as a comedy, and I certainly laughed out loud at many scenes and lines. But, it’s also a serious look at what is happening in the world and to individuals, and how rural life is perceived, and people are treated.
Marcela Lorca directs this rich script with grace. Each moment and shift of character and setting is finely choreographed. Jason Hansen composed music as the underscore for this play, including many different styles that set mood and fill in the landscape of the play. It is fascinating to watch him play all the instruments during the performance, except for the violin, which is covered by Susan Crawford or Theresa Elliott, depending on the performance.
Benjamin Olsen is the scenic designer for Stones in His Pockets. You get glimpses of the idyllic countryside and all its lush greenery as you enter the theater. The design fills the stage and flows out over the edges and down the hallway. Projections, by Kathy Maxell, give the sense of the filming that is happening, as well as images of the place where the story takes place. Marcus Dilliard provides the lighting design, and Peter Morrow is the sound designer. Sarah Bahr is the brilliant costume designer, providing easily slipped on and off pieces for quick character changes, as well as cleverly placed pockets and accessory pieces. Abbee Warmboe is the props designer, another moving part to the production, as a glass or a notebook are quickly produced for specific scenes.
I sat riveted to the story as it unfolded. Not only is this a well written script with a poignant story, with great humor, but also the actors show exceptional skills as they pull us through this story. The music is a perfect underscore to this story. Everything is brilliantly executed. This is another show at Theater Latté Da that I’d love to go back and watch again.
You can see Stones in His Pockets at Theater Latté Da through Feb. 25, 2024. Jill from Cherry and Spoon and I interviewed Jason Hansen on our Twin Cities Theater Chat podcast on his work as a Music Director and composer for this show, and others, and congratulated him on winning the TCTB award for Music Director for 2023. (That episode will be released soon.)
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Describe the place where you grew up. If it’s a rural place, or small town, or even a city, how has it been portrayed in media? Is it realistic? Fair? How do you feel about it?