Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me | R-S Theatrics

Someone-Wholl-Watch-Over-Me 75This show examines the human spirit when it is pushed to the breaking point.

 

Someone-Wholl-Watch-Over-Me 500

R-S Theatrics kicks off its 2014 season with Frank McGuinness’ drama, “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.” The story centers around three men, who are chained to the floor of a Lebanon holding cell. American Adam (Paul Cereghino), Englishman Michael (Todd Micali), and Irishman Edward (Mark Kelley) work together to support one another as they struggle to hold onto their hope of rescue as well as their own sanity.

As I walked into The Chapel, I noticed two things: Cereghino sitting on the stage fiddling with the chain that bound him to the ground, and the stage was set up for theater in the square. I am particularly fond of this type of theater. It forces the actors to perform to all corners of their world, but it also has its hindrances as well. When the actors are not facing you, the lines can get muffled. Fortunately, all three actors did an excellent job in projecting their lines.

The star of the production is the dialogue. McGuinness does a superb job in keeping the conversations crisp and engaging. For example, when the captives are asking whether or not their families were inquiring about them, one of the characters states, “People get on with their lives.” This line had a profound effect upon me. It made me realize how we live in a manic panic culture. The majority of us are outraged by certain events but then we quickly lose interest. Have those girls in Nigeria been returned? Are the gang rapes and hanging of women still going on in India? We do get on with our lives. It’s shameful.

On a lighter note, the 2 ½ hour production flew by as I was fascinated with the dialogue between the three captives. I also appreciate the fact that McGuinness doesn’t insult his own story by putting a big pretty bow on the ending.

Micali and Kelley turned in exceptional performances as Michael, and Edward, respectively. They both gave their performances the needed emotional weight as well as what appeared to be authentic accents. Daniel Thomas Blackwell should be commended for his contribution as dialect coach. I enjoyed the dynamic tension between these two actors as they worked in emotional harmony throughout the entire production.

Cereghino’s performance as Adam was a mixed bag. In the beginning, his delivery was a bit too robotic. As the performance went on, it felt as if he relaxed into his character and delivered some memorable dramatic monologues. I could tell he has the goods, he just needs to relax. But then again, for the first ten minutes he is doing push-ups and sit-ups, so I have to commend him for being able to deliver any lines during physical exertion.

I imagine staging for theater in the square can’t be an easy task, but I must congratulate Kyra Bishop for her scenic design and Nathan Schroeder for his work as lighting director. Bishop keeps the scenery simple with corner brackets and rubble. Schroeder follows suit with a hanging light bulb and a well-placed spotlight. Both should be commended for a job well done.

I have to applaud R-S Theatrics for taking a risk with this kind of production. This show examines the human spirit when it is pushed to the breaking point. That fact alone might make people uncomfortable. But to me, that is what good theater is supposed to do—make the audience feel something. Fortunately for R-S Theatrics, the risk pays off as they kick off their season with a truly remarkable production. | Jim Ryan

“Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” runs through June 29. Tickets cost $12 for educators (with valid ID), $18 for students/older adults (with valid ID), and $20 for general admission. The theater is located at 6238 Alexander Drive.

On Sunday, June 22, R-S Productions is hosting a “First Timer’s Night.” If you have never been to an R-S Productions show, grab a friend, sign up for their mailing list, and you will get 2-for-1 ticket prices on general admission prices.

On Thursday, June 28, they are hosting a “Pay What You Feel What You Can Afford” night. The company feels art is a necessity, not a luxury. You can pay as little or as much as you can afford. While you can attend for free, I would implore you to dig deep for a show this fabulous.

On Friday, June 27, they are hosting a “Prison Performing Arts” night. Ticket prices are raised by $5 and 100% of those funds go to PPA. For more information on the PPA, visit prisonartsstl.org.

For more information about R-S Theatrics, visit r-stheatrics.com

Photos: Mr. Michael Young

 

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