The Acting Company
This month, local actor, playwright and director, Kevin Broccoli, Epic Theatre Company’s Artist-in-Residence, assembles more than 150 local actors to deliver a four-weekend series of original monologues about a theater’s fifty-year history in "The Acting Company."
Members of the fictitious Orpheus Theater have gathered, some posthumously, to commemorate what they believe to be a 50-year anniversary celebration of the Acting Company. Each evening, more than 20 participants are invited to stand before the audience and share a favorite memory or personal story and reflect upon their time spent at Orpheus.
The monologues, all penned by Broccoli, are presented as a collection of vignettes and, much like the speakers’ temperaments, convey a myriad of emotions, ranging from sadness and hostility to elation and empathy. While each entry has its own story, the audience discovers that select segments are intertwined, when a name from an earlier speech is mentioned again by another individual.
Each performance during last Sunday evening’s gathering was special or unique, and given the vast range of topics, it would be difficult and unfair to praise one over the other.
That being said, some highlights that left an especially lasting impression include Jimmy Gracik’s retelling of a Tennessee Williams’ production brought to a grinding halt when one of the actors went into labor on stage, as well as Vanessa Blanchette’s darkly comic confession to shooting and killing her ungentlemanly "Endgame" co-star.
Jason Miscia explains in earnest how the religious overtone of "Inherit the Wind" complicates his personal life, Adam Law expresses angst over the impropriety of staging bathhouse comedy, "The Ritz," at the height of the AIDS crisis, and TJ Curran professes a resounding emptiness since having chosen "something else" over a life in the theater.
These referenced examples are just a preview of this haunting production that exemplifies Kevin Broccoli’s impressive writing talent. When performances as profound and engaging as these are coupled with such a gifted artist’s words and direction, the end result is sublime.
"The Acting Company" runs through August 26 at The Zabinski Studio in the Hope Artiste Village, 999 Main Street in Pawtucket. To reserve tickets, email TheActingCompanyShow@yahoo.com