The Column Online



By Naomi Iizuka

Lakeside Community Theatre

Director/Property Design- Reanna Bell
Director/Scenic Design/Lighting Design/Sound Design- Benjamin Keegan Arnold
Stage Manager/Light Board Operator- Rustin Rolen
Costume and Hair Design- Hope Cox

D(Dionysus)- Jorge Martin Lara
Eurydice- Christina Kudlicki Hoth
Persephone- Ellen Bell
Philomel/Semele- Molly Bower
Orpheus- Ben Ambroso
Narcissus- Steve Robert Pounds
Echo- Kristy Sims
G (Zeus, Hades)- Dale Moon
Skinhead Boy-Riley Cusick
Skinhead Girl- Reanna Bell

Reviewed Performance: 11/4/2017

Reviewed by Mildred Austin, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

I always approach a theatrical performance expecting to be surprised. Surprised by the director’s interpretation and approach to the written script. Surprised in the way each actor breathes life into their character. Surprised by the set, the costumes, the music, in short, by everything I am about to experience. On this Saturday evening I was surprised by many things—all of them wonderful! Lakeside Community Theatre is almost hidden away in a non-descript building that sits rather far back from the main thoroughfare in The Colony, just north of Frisco. But inside, I suspect magic happens on a regular basis. On this evening, the magic came via their production of POLAROID STORIES, a play I was completely unfamiliar with. Seating isn’t reserved, but that is of no consequence as there are no “bad” seats in the small house. So we chose the front row (my high school teachers always told me to sit on the front row—it impressed professors in college). And the magic began before the show even started. Or, perhaps I should say, the show didn’t “start”, it evolved in front of us, beginning with a young man and woman who wandered in, sat on the floor in front of us and started selling jewelry they were putting together before our eyes. Displayed in front of them: a crude cardboard sign informing us the jewelry was $1.00. Folks on the front row, and elsewhere, purchased pieces from them.

This is a good time to insert that this production is LGT’s second charity production and proceeds from the show and the silent auction in the lobby and the Wine Pull (for $10 you purchase a bottle of wine hooded in black and it could be worth $10 or $100 when the cloak is removed) go to City Square. City Square is one of the largest most effective social service organization in Texas, serving more than 30,000 neighbors each year through 17 different programs. Its mission is “to fight the causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy, and friendship.” And as it happens, not by accident, I’m sure, POLAROID STORIES is the perfect vehicle to bring the plight of the homeless and hopeless to our attention.

Actors enter slowly, one at a time, before we realize the play is beginning. Some enter, then exit. We are immediately drawn into the sense of the underground world inhabited by the homeless, the drug addicts, the users, the abusers, each with a story to tell. The author interviewed sex workers and runaways, then elevated the complicated lives of people living on the street by using poetic language and mythological figures. Inspired in part by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, an epic poem which jumps from myth to stories in sometimes random, unconnected order and tells of the gods in beautiful poetic language. POLAROID STORIES shares the unconnected order but in lovely, lyrical language tells the stories of these gods/street people and their world.

Jorge Martin Lara as D (Dionysus) is large in size and language. His almost rap style of line delivery commands your full attention. He is never “acting”, he IS D. His laughter is infectious, his face so expressive and his movements come together to create this larger than life personae. Eurydice, on the other hand, played by Christina Kudicki Hoth is a victim. A victim of love that turns abusive and forgetfulness. She moves between fear and manipulation easily and stuns us finally when she turns on her lover, Orpheus, played by Ben Ambroso. Mr. Ambroso is scarily believable as the abusive lover, able to turn between sweet talk and rage on the turn of a phrase. And he convincingly uses his guitar as a lyre, in an attempt to lure his love back to him.

Ellen Bell as Persephone, is the wise old woman of the street who knows all the tricks and falls for none. But even she has a dark side and Ms. Bell so beautifully relates her story so that we see the soft underside of a crusty crone. Molly Bower as the scared, scurrying young woman did not have the dialogue to work with that most of the other characters had and consequently, her character was not as fully developed, relying on her physicality to tell her story.

Steve Robert Pounds as Narcissus was both funny and sad simultaneously. But he was the god who fell in love with himself and Mr. Pounds is excellent and absolutely spot on in his development of that character. There is absolutely no hint of “acting” in his line delivery or movement. He IS Narcissus. And Kristy Sims, playing Echo, is appropriately frustrated in her attempts to interact with him but fated to only repeat his last words.

G, played by Dale Moon is a very believable “dirty old man” who is quietly seductive to Eurydice and preys on the younger females in his domain. Riley Cusick as Skinhead boy is every pretty young guy living on the streets. He is sad and funny and angry and we see all those emotions through the poetry of the script and his bringing the boy to life. Skinhead girl, played by Reanna Bell, has the physicality of the street girl down, but she is sometimes difficult to hear (and we were on the front row) and I had some difficulty believing who she was onstage. Her energy lagged while those around her were eating up the set!

Ah, yes, the set. Looked a bit like GODSPELL but dirtier. But perfect for the setting of this play. I particularly liked the use of the cyclone fencing as it brought us to the alley way of many large cities, and it closed off actors on one side of it from those on the opposite side. And the directors used this to advantage, for instance, in scenes between Orpheus and Eurydice in which the fence was the only barrier preventing the latter from being physically battered. The trash was the set decoration applicable to this dirty alleyway, and the platforms stacked about resembled pallets one might see discarded in such a place.

The scenes flowed lyrically most of the time, though sometimes, particularly in the second act, the author became wordy, even if it was poetically wordy. The production had energy, variety, and actors who put “acting” aside and moved and spoke the subtext pushing them beyond the words. It was very apropos that at the curtain call, the actors carried pictures of people helped (?) or needing the help of City Square. This was, then, truly COMMUNITY theatre educating its audiences to the needs that exist around us and challenging us to help.

Lakeside Community Theatre
PO Box 560413, The Colony, TX 75056
(214) 801-4869

Plays through November 18

Fridays and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. Sunday, November 18, 3 p.m.
Twitter: @LCTThecolony