The Theatre at Boston Court’s production of The Children is, in every sense of the word, truly an original production. Aside from its presentation as a world premiere, the play itself is a sort of anomaly of style, deviating from expectations of what playwriting can and should be. From top to bottom in this fast-paced and captivating production, its simply thrilling to get lost in the unknown and find yourself waiting in anticipation to see how everything unfolds. Simply, The Children is wonderful.
The Children is a essentially a modern day tale told under the veil of Greek Mythology’s story of Medea, the enchantress who, after being abandoned by her husband Jason for the Corinth King’s daughter Glauce, kills both of them and her two children as revenge. While part of the thrill of this play exists in letting the story unfold unknowingly, the basic narrative follows a chorus woman from the tale of Medea who steals Medea’s children before their murder and transports them to modern day Maine. What follows is a delightfully witty altercation of worlds that unfolds layers upon layers of surprises, ending in a reality totally unexpected and surprisingly moving.
The production is well-conceived and meticulously presented as a total piece of theatrical art. While Michael Elyanow’s script sets the groundwork for success, Jessica Kubzansky picks up from there with a clever and imaginative staging. Her work finds success in creatively bringing to life the many aspects of Elyanow’s script that might otherwise seem challenging for a live theatre space. The show weaves in an out of reality effortlessly and moves along at a great pace, leaving the audience enthusiastically following. In fact, when the lights return to the house, a deep breath reminiscent of the end of a thrilling roller coaster ride feels almost necessary.
The children themselves, presented as puppets animated by two real actors (Sonny Valicenti and Paige Lindsey White), become vibrant characters that steal some of the most sensitive moments. Subtle directional choices existing in simple glances and slight exchanges of touch between human and puppets offer glimpses into intertwined realities that thrill the perceptive audience member.
Francois Pierre Couture delivers a creative set that lends itself to both the space and the creative needs of the production. Perhaps the most effective design tool, essentially finalizing the departure from reality, was Veronika Vorel and John Zalewski’s sound design. A production of its own, the sound moves you magically through the story and lives always on the brink of the production, sealing the imaginary world with its vibrancy.
The cast leads foremost as a creative ensemble, working together with equal weight and importance. They are, above all, instinctual and likeable from the first. And most enjoyably, each finds a way to bring what first appear as light-hearted characters, to dramatically sensitive conclusions. The cast features Daniel Blinkoff, Adriana Sevahn Nichols, Sonny Valicenti, Paige Lindsey White and Jacqueline Wright.
Truly, this production is unique and insists you see it before its June 10th closure. As always with Boston Court, you find yourself in a world of risks unparalleled by other Los Angeles theatres.
The Children opened Saturday, May 12, 2012 and runs through Sunday, June 10th, 2012 at:
The Theatre at Boston Court
70 North Mentor Ave
Thurs-Sat @ 8pm, Sundays @ 2pm
Photos by: Ed Krieger