The Canyoneers 1:30 p.m., Sept. 19
Is a rare psychological condition, now called "conversion d," caused by severe stress or trauma. A person goes blind, temporarily, but is unsure if it will ever end. In Laura Cahill's 80-minute character sketch, Debbie Miller experienced it once and now lives the metaphorical equivalent: she's so desperate to find a mate she's blind to the obvious and envisions a new life, in her mind, from a one-night stand. In the end she gains a kind of (in)sight and rejects the urge to cruise Oliver's Bar in Bayonne, New Jersey. The piece is sketchy - and may be more compelling to perform than to watch. The key is having the audience identify with characters who could easily become typed (as crude "Joisey Girls") or comical. In the early bar scenes, which recall David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago a lot, the Backyard Production's staging verges on the latter. But Cahill's textured, you-are-there dialogue and detailed performances - by Jessica John, Amanda Sitton, Jill Drexler, Dale Morris, Jonathan Sachs, and Dylan Seaton - create a believable, albeit brief slice of life. Eric Lotze's lighting exudes atmosphere, and M. Scott Grabau's excellent sound design evokes 1987 with a background score that's "Hungry Like the Wolf." I must admit the production left me a mite wanting, however. I'd love to see this cast and designers given more to chew on - say something by John Guare.
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, May 11, 2008
- Sundays, 2pm & 7pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm