Thursday, July 06, 2006
How the River City Repertory Theater established its worth with The Little Foxes at the Strand Theater in June
Ben Tyler, a protean actor from Tempe, AZ, was Gremillion's buttress. Tyler brought deep-pocketed competence to the stage as the alpha male of the rapacious Hubbard family. Tyler's CV might indicate an actor capable of carrying the show, but he did not outplay the other actors.
Lean actor Logan Sledge, a graduate of the Centenary program that was helmed by director Patric McWiilliams and Robert Busieck, came from California (he has an MFA from Cal State) to play the nervous, young screw-up of the family. Sledge's tics (fingers plucking at his lips when he was in trouble) and careful dance round the older actors were adept.
Possessed of flair and comfortable sense of character were Jodie Glorioso, as the alcoholic, unflaggingly tragic Birdie, and John Gayle, who played the stolid second male of the Hubbards.
McWilliams, the director, was also successful in costume design - he brought a Renaissance pallette to the fabrics draping the players. His set design brought grandiosity to the Strand Theater's stage. The columns dwarfed the actors and added a gothic tone to Lillian Hellman's melodrama.
As a person who worries about the solvency of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Opera, the Strand Theater and the future of local fine arts productions, I must say that the Strand seemed a worthy partner for River City Repertory.
Capturing an audience that will sustain productions by a local professional company will almost certainly prove difficult. Happily, supporters can go forth to sell McWilliams' program based on both the excitement generated during his years at Centenary College as well as the competency of the initial River City Repertory Theater production.
- Robert Trudeau