Harbor Light's trolley-ride through time
WAVES THROUGH HISTORY: After 20 years.
Think of everything the universe has conspired to do for you: thrown your cells together, given you life and proclivities, and put you — as far as you’re concerned — at its center. It’s also allied you with an array of interesting human animals — each, of course, the center of their own respective universe — and grounded you in certain evocative places. Now it’s led you at least this far into this theater review, which may or may not lead you to a parking lot across from Cap’n Simeon’s Galley in impossibly picturesque Kittery Point, where you’ll hop a private trolley, trimmed with flowers and old yearbook bios, to a 19th-century barn at Brave Boat Farm, where somebody will size you up and put a sticker on you that identifies you as “Most Likely to be a Millionaire” or “Most Likely to Sell Used Cars.”
|The Pavilion by Craig Wright | Directed by Kent Stephens | Produced by Harbor Light Stage, at the Brave Boat Harbor Farm in Kittery Point | through May 25 | 207.439.5769 ext 3|
The trolley brings its intrepid passengers to The Pavilion, Craig Wright’s 2000 Pulitzer-nominated comedy about a high school reunion and the cosmic wisdom that it brings. Asked to imagine the barn as the old lakeshore dance hall — the Pavilion — of Pine City, Minnesota, we in the audience are among the revelers. Harbor Light Stage, the promising new company under the direction of Kent Stephens, goes to great creative lengths to include us in the party — the trolley ride even includes a recorded Minnesotan welcome to get us in the spirit. The rest of “our” class includes a slew of funny/poignant/irritating characters, and all of them are played by only three actors: The former Class of ’85 Cutest Couple, Kari and Peter, estranged for the last 20 years, is played by accomplished seacoast actors Kristan Raymond Robinson and Chris Curtis. Everybody else — from Pudge, who works for the 99-cent-per-minute suicide hotline, to Cookie, the stoner town official whose plan is to set fire to the Pavilion at midnight — is played by the renowned virtuoso Susan Poulin.
Poulin is also our Narrator, a Puckish, Wilderian Stage Manager who creates the universe in a drop of water and its ripples, then fast-forwards all the way through Alexander the Great, Christ, Peter’s Swedish immigrant ancestors, and finally to this evening at the Pavilion. “The waves that push through history are the same waves that push up through us,” she says, and it is not just another party for Peter and Kari, who have some unresolved issues with each other and the forces of time. Between their strained encounters, they hear perspectives from the universes of their many former classmates — on love, reincarnation, forgiveness, and how men have a “limited supply” of feelings and will slowly but surely run out. It’s a veritable survey of cosmic philosophies, thinly veiled as (highly entertaining) drunk talk, and Poulin’s Narrator steps in at intervals to render the discourse a little loftier (and, it must be said, the prose considerably purpler).
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