Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’

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SWIMMERS by Rachel Bonds is a World Premiere at MTC

 World Premiere “Swimmers” by Rachel Bonds at MTC

Marin Theatre Company has just opened Swimmers, with a superb cast and outstanding Director Mike Donahue. Swimmers is a fast-moving, compelling and fascinating slice of life that could be yesterday, today or tomorrow.  The documentary-level realness of the performances, all powerful and yet completely grounded, became a perfectly unified mechanism for carrying Rachel Bonds’ gently persistent ideas and thoroughly believable dialogue.  It has really stayed with me.

MTC_Swimmers_Abraham_Weiner_Rosenak_LoResWhen the play opens, a few of the characters are peering through an office-building window – at coyotes in the parking lot!  Nearby billboards are predicting the end of the world.  It seems to be a very strange day at the office, and it’s only 9 a.m.!  Running about 2 hours without an intermission, the entire performance is composed of 9 mini-plays, taking place in an office building – beginning in the basement, with another play up one floor higher until we get to the roof.

This comedy/dramatic “slice of life” ensemble play explores relationships among 11 characters, representing those with whom we in the audience might work every day, and just take for granted. Each character metaphorically swims through surreal suppositions and interrelationships to get to the other shore (the end of the day) with psyche intact.

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Tom (Aaron Roman Weiner) periodically escapes to the basement.  Vivian (Kristin Villanueva), not-so-politically-correctly, blurts out what others are thinking.  Randy (Max Rosenak) sneaks a toke off a joint on the 2nd floor.  Farrah (Jessica Bates) is torturing Yuri (Brian Herndon) on the 7th floor – and the 4th floor lavatory is flooding!

Special mention should be made of two well-known Bay Area actors.

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MTC_Swimmers_Robinson_LoResL. Peter Callender is Walter, the custodian who holds the entire play together from the basement all the way up the floors and even to the roof.

Charles Shaw Robinson, another veteran actor, plays George in a remarkable supporting performance.

 

 

Other fine performances include Jolly Abraham (Priya), Ryan Vincent Anderson (Bill), Adam Andrianopoulous (Dennis), Sarah Nina Hayon (Charlene).

This World Premiere comedy, by up-and-coming playwright Rachel Bonds poignantly shows some of the difficulties we may have in day-to-day work settings as we try to connect with those we spend so many hours of our lives away from home.

Dane Laffrey deftly designed both the office building (in an industrial park) as well the appropriate costumes. Kurt Landisman designed the effective lighting (alternately very bright or very dark), and Theodore (Teddy) Hulsker gets credit for the sound design.

This critic heartily agrees with Artistic Director Jason Minadakis who lauds Rachel Bonds’ ability to gracefully bend “the sweet melancholy notes of loneliness to create gentle affection and empathy that lifts and releases. . .  [she] has created a contemporary American fugue of loneliness, connection, and open with her detailed, very human characters who ache and struggle to get through the day at their suburban office park.”

Photography by Kevin Berne

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Performances of Swimmers began March 3 and will run through March 27, 2016, at the home of the Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For tickets, contact Marin Theatre Company at 415-388-5208, or purchase online at boxoffice@marintheatre.org.

Remaining Evening Performances: Tuesday through Saturday 7:30 pm
Remaining Matinees 2:00 pm: Saturday, March 26, and Sundays, March 20 and 27

Flora Lynn Isaacson