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Review Wed Oct 19 2011

The Spirit Play at the DCA Theatre: Not worth the trip

To be blunt, I was not thrilled with The Spirit Play. But it was not for lack of effort or acting on the part of the cast. Really, the premise is intriguing, too. The characters include a spirit medium, a dead wife, a lovelorn widower. All make for intriguing Halloween fare. However, the script and direction left me wanting more. The play explores the late 1870s, where "séances, spirit mediums, and supernatural occurrences took Victorian-era America by storm" but never really goes into the reasons why this happened.

In short, death was all around these Victorians and to watch The Spirit Play, that's not explored as much as it could be. A main and 2 minor characters have lost a wife and daughter, but the circumstances surrounding those deaths are left mysterious, leaving the audience little to empathize with. The emphasis is on the supernatural forces, mostly seen through the eyes of Spirit Medium Jane (Kate Nawrocki) that affect our characters, while we're left wondering why they like to focus on paranormal hanky-panky so much. Perhaps because most people of that era could expect to lose at least one child? I never sensed the real essence of that time -- the fact that everyone is always living on the edge of death. Although the acting is great, the directing and script lack a certain pull for me. In truth, I didn't feel a lot for these people, which made it really hard for me to feel scared for them when the time came.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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