by Horton Foote
Director- Jim Covault
Set Design- Jim Covault
Costume Design- Michael Robinson, Dallas Costume Shoppe
Lighting Design- Michael O'Brien
Props/Set D?cor- Lynn Lovett
Katie Bell Jackson- Mikaela Krantz
Vesta Jackson- Meg Bauman
Myra Tolliver- Dana Schultes
Mr. Jackson- Michael Corolla
Mrs. Jackson- Amber Devlin
Willis- Thomas Ward
Estaquio Trevino- Julian Gonzales
Pete- Dillon Vineyard
Gladys- Jessica Cavanagh
Ashenback- Jeff McGee
Gerard Anderson- Brian Mathis
Reviewed Performance 3/12/2011
Reviewed by Shelley Kaehr, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
To kick off this season's DFW Horton Foote Festival, Stage West in Fort Worth is now showing their production of Talking Pictures. I had the pleasure of seeing the show opening night and was glad I did.
In all the years of viewing theater, I must say this might be the very best overall casting I've ever seen. Foote is known for creating lively characters and Director Jim Covault did a superb job of finding the right people for every role.
Of particular note were Mikaela Krantz who played Katie Bell with exhuberant youthfulness and Dana Schultes as Myra. There was not a dry eye in the house during some of her heartfelt scenes as she struggled with the day to day trials of raising her young son as a single parent.
The direction was creative and fresh. In one scene, Mr. Jackson (beautifully played by Michael Corolla) returns home from the railroad and takes a seat with his back to the audience while his two girls, Katie (Krantz) and Vesta (Meg Bauman), clamor for his attention.
Kudos to the costume designers who mastered their crafts so well, some characters elicited laughter from the audience without ever uttering a word. Their facial expressions and costuming said it all. Jessica Cavanaugh's gold-digging turn as Gladys and Jeff McGee as Ashenback got some huge laughs, as well as Brian Mathis who was hilarious as Gerald Anderson.
What I appreciated most about this production was the timeliness of the message, even though the play was penned years ago. Foote is a master of speaking to the human condition and showing the struggles of parenthood and the attempt to try and stay relevant in a fast paced world where technology often works people out of their jobs.
One of the highlights of the evening was at the end of the show when I had the opportunity to meet Walter Foote (Horton's son) and his lovely wife Diane, who came in especially for the program from New York. When I asked Walter about his father, you could see how proud he was of him still and we discussed the talent of the late great playwright. I'm anxious to see the rest of the Foote Festival this spring!
The D/FW area Horton Foote Festival runs from March 14 (the late playwright's birthday) through May 1 and I highly recommend you begin by seeing Talking Pictures running now through April 3. It was time well spent!
Stage West, 821 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76104
Plays through April 3rd
Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm & Sundays at 3:00pm
Regular ticket prices are $26 - $30 with discounts for seniors, students, and "Under 30" and Pay What You Can specials.
For tickets and info go to www.stagewest.org or call 817-784-9378.