by August Strindberg
Broken Gears Project Theatre
Director: Rene Moreno
Stage Manager: Lisa Robb
Playwright/Adapter: Steve Young
Costume Designer: Jeule Noyes
Scenic Painter: Kaori Imal
Set Designer: Elias Taylorson
Technical Designer: Joe Truitt
Technical Assistant: Curt Stiles
Adolph: Evan Fuller
Tekla: Meredith Morton
Gustavo: Elias Taylorson
Reviewed Performance 2/17/2011
Reviewed by Jason Kane, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Strindberg is hard. You don't choose to do one of his works lightly. Most well-known for "Miss Julie", the Swedish playwright creates rich characters, but his abrupt changes in tone and style make his plays particularly challenging to modern theatre companies as well as modern audiences.
Broken Gears Project Theatre, however, is not a company that shies away from a challenge. And they are more than up to the task with their production of Strindberg's "Creditors". A tight, intermission-less three-character drama, "Creditors" could easily slip into melodrama or, in the wrong hands, just simply be boring.
Broken Gears has assembled a formidable foursome for this endeavor, with powerhouse director Ren? Moreno leading three phenomenal actors: Evan Fuller, Meredith Morton and Elias Taylorson. Through the 70 minute's traffic of the play, each of the four has multiple moments to shine. The power shifts without warning, and what lies beneath the surface of relationships jeopardizes each character's standing with the other two.
The setting is a seaside resort, where Adolph (Fuller) is recuperating
from an illness with his wife Tekla (Morton). A benevolent stranger, Gustavo (Taylorson), has befriended Adolph while Tekla has gone away for an afternoon in town. To give any more away would betray some of the delight of this production.
Fuller's delicate Adolph looks every bit the broken man he's supposed to be. As Strindberg metes out the details of just why Adolph has fallen into the illness he's suffering, one is afraid his next move is going to find him flat on the floor. His portrayal creates a tension that, along with the need to have the rest of the blanks filled in, sets an incredibly engaging tone for the evening.
Taylorson's Gustavo is the polar opposite of Adolph. Vigorous and full of life, he counsels poor Adolph with the wisdom of a man who's been there and done that. Like a good chess player, he's thinking a few moves ahead at all times. The flicker of something not-quite-right can be detected, and it adds deliciously to the build of the piece.
By the time we finally get to meet Morton's Tekla, she's been built up to such a point that she has her work cut out for her. But Tekla proves to be every bit the match for both Adolph and Gustavo, just as Morton is every bit the match for Fuller and Taylorson.
The work of director Moreno is subtle and nuanced. He creates beautiful and meaningful stage pictures, and his use of Taylorson's ethereal set design (along with the picturesque costume design of Juele Noyes) paints a portrait of a time long gone. But the result is timeless. The evils that men and women do to each other, the debts we impose and constantly threaten to collect, are all part of the human condition.
Broken Gears ups the ante with each new production, and with "Creditors" they've actually doubled-down.
Broken Gears Project Theatre
3819 Fairmount Street, Dallas, TX 75219
(Entrance is off Shelby, next to the Dallas Observer bldg.) FREE Gated Parking
Runs through March 3rd
Monday through Thursday nights at 8:00 pm
Ticket prices: $15 with a Special "Ten Buck Toosday" $10 ticket - online order only.
Tickets available at www.brokengearstheatre.com