Nocturne Review - A Journey of Redemption

Multi-talented playwright Adam Rapp has forged an intimate tale of one man’s reaction to trauma and how that response changed his life. Taking this very personal drama through emotional pain and resolution are co-directors James Eckhouse and Richard Schiff, both award-winning directors and actors. But it is the private innermost voyage of “the son” (James Wollrab) which brings this drama to life. During Wollrab’s career in theater, he founded two theater companies and functioned as a producer, director, actor, and acting coach. Wollrab is currently the artistic director of the Triptych Theatre Company, and – as this play proves – a consummate actor who can delve into the very heart of a suffering man and shine light into the dark corners.

Jamie Wollrab in "Nocturne" - Photo by Kate Danson Photography

The 17-year-old son has unwittingly caused the death of his younger sister in a tragic auto accident. Even though he had no control over failed brakes, he still harbors boundless guilt and grief compounded, in no small part, by his disconsolate parents. His bereft father conjures a death wish towards his son, while his despondent mother cannot deal with living in the same home ever again. Soon, his parents separate; and their depressed, guilt-ridden son travels to New York City to begin life anew. NOCTURNE follows the son on his solo journey as he tries to put his life back together – all the while knowing that his mother has been institutionalized and his father barely hangs on. NOCTURNE is an intense, searingly honest voyage through the depths of pain and despair. James Wollrab does a skilled, compelling job as the beleaguered teen who finds himself rudderless and unsupported as he enters adulthood. Wollrab is also adept at taking on the roles of others in his odyssey.

Jamie Wollrab and Director James Eckhouse - Photo by Kate Danson Photography

Co-directors Eckhouse and Schiff gently helm this story of how emotional trauma and pain are endured and, with time, even expand human consciousness.  David Mauer’s scenic design is simple, highlighted by Justin Huen’s lighting and Veronica Mullins’ sound. This is a saga which happens inside the head and between the lines – and, as such, probes interior needs and motivations which are not readily apparent to the viewer. Wollrab is powerful and moving as he conveys secrets which are often invisible to others. NOCTURNE will definitely have a special appeal to people who have faced trauma and loss, especially involving loved ones. Given Jamie Wollrab’s virtuoso performance, it may also serve as a master acting class.

Jamie Wollrab - Photo by Kate Danson Photography

NOCTURNE runs through August 13, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays. The VS. Theatre is located at 5453 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are $25. For information and reservations, go online.

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