The Column Online



by Kelsey Ervi
Greyman Theatre Company

Part of the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival

WaterTower Theatre

Directed by Emily Christine Smith
Set/Costume/Sound Designer - Emily Christine Smith
Lighting Designer - Skyy Pamilton
Properties Manager - Kelly Nickell

Joshua Gonzales - James/Will
Nellsyn Hill - Jess/Lauren
Francisco Lopez, Jr. - David/Jacob/Man
Kelly Nickell - Amy/Rachel/Woman

Reviewed Performance: 3/6/2012

Reviewed by Mary L. Clark, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Waking Up, a world premiere one-act by another local playwright, Kelsey Ervi and Greyman Theatre Company, picks us up from 1949 and drops us back into contemporary times and into bed - several beds to be precise. Four actors portray eleven people, having one common thread in that they share experiences, tell their innermost secrets to, and are vulnerable with another person in bed during the late night or early morning hours.

Cleverly shifting scenes with an ever time-changing projection of a digital alarm clock each played out in a double bed. Actors continually changed characters, changed clothes, changed bed partners as the clock blinked in the dark. The audience was a voyeur, quietly in the corner of the bedroom, as the characters revealed their trust, fear, doubts and love in relationships. We witnessed true love, first love, damaged love, love for those gone and love for one yet to come - an all encompassing circle of life.

Ervi presented heterosexual and homosexual relationships equally. All were written simply and beautifully with nothing overt or demanding. On a side note, I automatically felt a nervous, fidgety energy from the audience with the two women lovers yet none with the two men - just an interesting observation.

The four actors, Nellsyn Hill, Kelly Nickell, Joshua Gonzales and Francisco Lopez, Jr. became an impeccable, cohesive ensemble unit - each scene change delicately choreographed like a dance. The rapid shifting of emotions, partners, and even sexual preferences in a matter of moments was almost breathtaking. I watched closely as to whether any actor's characterizations remained from the previous but each of them made clear choices for their characters and the audience knew exactly who was who. I particularly enjoyed that the playwright brought some characters' stories full circle, and that one person in one situation was also seen in a different scenario.

Sometimes being in vulnerable situations can be off-putting. In his playbill notes, Ervi said, "A bedroom is the most personal of spaces, and if you reflect on our own relationships you might find that secrets and stories. . . . can be the easiest of things to share. . .". Waking Up made us a part of that vulnerability, made easier and sometimes more reflective by the work of the playwright and these actors.

Greyman Theatre Company

Final performances, pairing with Tricks on Thursday, March 8th at 7:30 pm and Saturday, March 10th at 2:00 pm. Paired with You Will Know When You Are There on Sunday March 11 at 2:00pm.

Part of the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival
WaterTower Theatre
Addison Conference and Theatre Centre
15650 Addison Road
Addison, TX 75001

Out of the Loop Fringe Festival runs through March 11th.

Tickets for all festival performances are $10 or $15 for festival