Alix is a writer, dramaturg, and actor.

Erlina is playwright and theatre maker.

Alix

What was in your pockets?

 

Erlina

In my pockets… Well I had to break my vow that I won’t see shows that don’t have at least one person of color. Because I’m an Azuka supporter, and enjoy Jackie Goldfinger as a person. How were your pockets doing?

 

Alix

My pockets were pretty dang full for this one! I’ve worked with Jackie and director Allison Heishman before, and I’m an Azuka supporter; I wrote an article about Azuka’s Pay What You Decide initiative in the Fall. Also, my mother recently passed away, so I knew that this piece was going to be tugging on my heartstrings in a pretty major way.

 

Erlina

Oooo wow, I’m definitely interested in your perspective then. I have a very unremarkable relationship with my father so I didn’t relate much to their relationship. But I enjoyed the in depth look at these two very distinct souls.

 

Alix

I do believe that I was primed to have a deep connection to the play because of where I am emotionally. Witnessing a young woman having to reconcile with being alone in the world after losing the person she had the richest bond with was difficult to watch, but putting my own feelings aside, I do believe that Jackie illustrated that journey in an achingly beautiful way.

 

Erlina

I was struck by the chemistry between the two actors. I have seen Sarah Gliko and Steven Rishard in many other things and this was the best thing I think I’ve seen them both in.

 

Alix

I agree that their chemistry was spot on. This was my first time seeing Steven on stage because I’m still fairly new to Philly, but I’ve gotten the chance to see Sarah in a few things now. I’ve noticed that she has a kind of sharpness to her approach, but she had an ease here that really settled in once she engaged with the music. And Steven provided such a calm yet powerful presence…a truly great pairing.

 

Erlina

The way they held each other and sang together felt so sweet and natural. Even the rabid hate that we sometimes harbor for our nearest and dearest.

 

Alix

Kudos should be given to Allison here as well. She found some stage pictures that accentuated the rapport that Steven and Sarah had, making that relationship even clearer.

 

Erlina

Very true. I loved the staging of this. The thrust stage made the audience feel like we were floating in the swamp. I think Allison used every corner of the stage beautifully. However I have to say that I was slightly distracted by how many times they put their guitars away and took them back out again. I’m sure there was a technical reason, who knows maybe they don’t want one of the guitars to catch on fire. But it felt clunky sometimes.

 

Alix

It looked to me like their storage boxes had some kind of protective lining in them, which might have been why they were always kept in that upstage corner. I agree that having the actors always go back to retrieve the instruments from that location lacked a certain efficiency, and I’m not sure what the solution might have been here; their space was limited, given the way the thrust was constructed. It was enough space for them to move freely once they had the instruments, but perhaps not enough room to leave instruments lying around in various locations.

 

Erlina

What did you think of the music?

 

Alix

I loved the quality of the music (I’m a sucker for acoustic guitar!) but I sometimes questioned the motive behind the singing. In musicals, characters sing because the emotion becomes too powerful for “regular” speech. I would argue that the same can be said for the songs in this show, but at times I didn’t see that same kind of need for song. That being said, I did note when songs were used as a means to reach out, for the characters to calm themselves, to revel in present joy. It was just inconsistent. What were your thoughts on the music?

 

Erlina

I enjoyed the music to a certain extent; they both had beautiful voices. However, I had to tell myself half way through to pretend I was at a little concert so that the music wouldn’t bore me (sometimes it just went on too long, and yes I wasn’t always sure WHY they were singing). I thought when “M” (Sarah’s character) was singing at her mother’s grave it was effective, and private. I also have to say some of the Greek stuff they were talking about was going way over my head. It was kind of like the music. These two people had a very difficult time talking to each other and they used music and Greek mythology  to communicate, but the message was lost on me sometimes. I did understand the Fates cutting the string, and that represents how a life can be cut short though and I enjoyed the activity of hanging the string and cutting it etc.

 

Alix

I’m glad you brought that up! I’m a big ol’ theatre nerd and studied Greek theatre and culture in school, so I was ready to find the ways in which Jackie drew on that part of Western theatre. But I did wonder how someone who wasn’t prepped on the history would take in all of the references. They didn’t include a dramaturgical note in the program, which might have aided in clarifying things.

 

Erlina

Ehhhhh Interesting. Yea I wasn’t prepped and sometimes while they were talking it was all Greek to me (Budabump!). A dramaturgical note would have been helpful, but also maybe some clarity on why this father and daughter arson team were so obsessed with Greek mythology. Anyway, I’ve been critical enough. I wanna talk about how much I loved the uses of the big hole in the middle of the stage! When the dad climbed out of there, I was enthralled. And when he climbed back in and M lit the hole on fire, I was blown away. I thought it was such a clever use of a small space. The lights under the house that burned red at the end…that’s an image I will have in my mind for a while.

 

Alix

I was enamored with the set as soon as I walked into the theatre. The designer, Dirk Durosette, played with perspective in an exciting way. It had just enough of the fantastical to let me know that this was going to be outside of the realm of strict realism. The dilapidated wood, the way the space opened from the center and moved outwards to open up the room…really eye-catching. How did you feel about the design elements?

 

Erlina

I commented on some of them above, but I also think sound by Andrew Nelson was spot on. There was crickets and fire crackling, and it just REALLY helped set the atmosphere, but it did not draw away from what was happening on the stage.

 

Alix

Yes! The design elements came together cohesively, and they all crafted this very specific and detailed world. That theatre WAS a shack in the swamplands of Florida.

 

Erlina

I don’t have much to say about the costumes (Becca Austin). But I loved the red jacket representing M’s mom.

 

Alix

The mother, even though we never see her, had a presence that permeated that whole play. Having a costume piece that acted as a tangible connection to her character was striking, especially because M wears it for most of the show.

 

Erlina

Overall, it was an engrossing production, and it was the perfect length for a two-hander.

 

Alix

Agreed! A gorgeous first production. It’s so exciting that it’s got a rolling world premiere! It’s an opportunity to keep finding new things in a short-ish amount of time. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the play’s future!

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