‘Cry of the Moun­tain’

The Washington Post - - STYLE -

Rock-solid Fringe show: “Cry of the Moun­tain.” It’s a ver­ba­tim drama con­ceived and per­formed by Adelind Ho­ran based on in­ter­views she con­ducted about the haz­ards of coal min­ing, with a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in the tech­nique known as moun­tain­top re­moval.

Ho­ran plays a dozen peo­ple she talked to, from min­ing ex­ec­u­tives to work­ers to en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists. The words are theirs, and Ho­ran im­per­son­ates them sim­ply, with a few ba­sic cos­tume changes and ac­cent shifts. She’s younger than the show’s pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial makes her look — 23 ac­cord­ing to the Web site of Char­lottesville’s Whole Theatre, where Ho­ran cre­ated this.

She shows a lot of poise, and un­mis­tak­able pur­pose. The hour-long per­for­mance gives a trou­bling ac­count of mod­ern min­ing, from defin­ing what coal is (car­bon and not pos­si­bly “clean,” ac­cord­ing to one ex­pert) to the pro­cesses of get­ting at it and why we can’t get off it. It’s un­apolo­getic ag­it­prop and com­pelling drama in the same way that doc­u­men­taries can make com­pelling movies. You learn some­thing, and the hu­man sto­ries Ho­ran shares put flesh on trou­bling facts.

Bud Branch adds Ap­palachian fla­vor by bridg­ing scenes with his banjo play­ing, and it’s a nice touch. But this is Ho­ran’s show. There’s noth­ing flam­boy­ant about the way she glides from char­ac­ter to char­ac­ter; she’s all busi­ness, giv­ing her­self to these peo­ple and to the moun­tains.

— Nel­son Press­ley

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