Ring­gold Playhouse of­fers in­tense telling of “True West” be­gin­ning April 19

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY -

Gritty, haunt­ing, in­tense...those are just a few of the words be­ing used to de­scribe the Ring­gold Playhouse’s (TRP) pro­duc­tion of “True West” open­ing this week.

The clas­sic Sam Shep­ard tale di­rected by Joanna Lewis will kick­off its sev­en­per­for­mance, twoweek­end run at the his­toric Ring­gold De­pot Thurs­day night, April 19, and will dis­sect the dy­namic of sib­ling ri­valry like few plays ever have.

“Sam Shep­ard has bril­liantly il­lus­trated the dark hu­mor, com­plex­i­ties, and the di­choto­mous themes of the Amer­i­can fam­ily,” Lewis said. “He ad­dresses the ri­valry paired with fond­ness, the bonds and es­trange­ment, and the hi­lar­i­ous yet dark dys­func­tion of it all.”

Af­ter act­ing and stage man­ag­ing with TRP over the past few sea­sons, Lewis is mak­ing her di­rec­to­rial de­but with the show.

“This story has sev­eral mo­tifs that res­onated with me on a per­sonal level, which is why I chose to tackle it as my first di­rec­to­rial ef­fort,” Lewis ex­plained.

The story show­cases the clash be­tween an up-and-com­ing writer Austin (Jonathan Har­ris), and his older brother Lee (Adam Cook), a crim­i­nal drifter, who ar­rives un­in­vited and tries to swin­dle Austin’s screen­writ­ing deal out from under him by schmooz­ing big time Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer Saul (Steve Jor­dan). The story’s ac­tion takes place in the Cal­i­for­nia home of the duo’s mother played by Ju­lia Wyant.

“The brothers are tied to their roots and their equal up­bring­ing, and yet both strug­gle to es­cape it,” Lewis said. “They fight against each other to have their in­di­vid­ual sto­ries heard, yet the story that needs to be heard and is in­evitably told, is re­ally about them and their re­la­tion­ship. That’s be­cause the sto­ries that en­gage us are not those that are con­trived, but sto­ries that are ‘true to life’.”

Lewis be­lieves the story has a lit­tle some­thing for ev­ery­one, and that au­di­ences will con­nect with themes in the show.

“I feel that ev­ery in­di­vid­ual has ex­pe­ri­enced some level of fa­mil­ial bro­ken­ness in their life, and that is what this play speaks to,” she said. “It also ad­dresses the fight within our­selves to tear off our la­bels, whether based on our past/up­bring­ing or our own self-in­flicted and con­fined iden­ti­ties.”

Shep­ard’s snappy di­a­logue and rugged am­biance are en­ter­tain­ing and im­pres­sive, as is the stamina of Har­ris and Cook, who de­liver the goods while re­main­ing on stage to­gether for the play’s en­tire two hours.

“This show is pow­er­ful, funny, and wildly en­ter­tain­ing,” Lewis said. “I think that Adam and Jonathan have tack­led these brothers and their re­la­tion­ship with enor­mous in­sight and for­ti­tude, and I award them with re­spect and grat­i­tude for all their hard work. The cast is won­der­ful, and I am con­fi­dent that the per­for­mances will be com­pelling and that the au­di­ences will be fully en­gaged, en­thralled, and en­ter­tained.”

Per­for­mances will run April 19-21 and 26-28 at 7:30 p.m., with a spe­cial mati­nee per­for­mance Satur­day, April 28 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 gen­eral ad­mis­sion,

$8 for se­niors and stu­dents, and can be pur­chased in per­son at Ring­gold City Hall, over the phone at 706935-3061, or on­line at Ci­tyOfRing­goldGa.gov.

“True West” ex­plores the bro­ken­ness of an Amer­i­can fam­ily as two brothers clash over a Hol­ly­wood screen­writ­ing deal. Adam Cook (left) and Jonathan Har­ris work a scene as “Lee” and “Austin” in a re­cent re­hearsal. (Con­trib­uted photo/TRP)

The Ring­gold Playhouse is lo­cated in­side the his­toric Ring­gold De­pot at 155 De­pot Street down­town. (Con­trib­uted photo/TRP)

Joanna Lewis

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