Monday, June 15, 2015

Gloria @ The Vineyard Theater

Are you a recent college graduate trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life? Or are you in your late twenties working for a company not sure about the career path you are taking? Or are you in your forties well into your career and realize this isn’t the life you want? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to make your way to The Vineyard Theatre and see, Gloria.
If you answered no to any of these questions, still go see this play, its THAT good!
Before I praise the actors I must praise the playwright, Branden Jacobs- Jenkins. What seems like a typical story about a couple twenty somethings trying to figure out life turns into so much more. From the effortless banter, and quick pace wit, I was taken on an emotional roller coaster.  Branden Jacobs- Jenkins’ script at first makes you feel like its ok to be lost and not sure about where life is taking you and then takes a brutal turn and makes you question if you would be able to live with your choices.

Direction by Evan Cabnet was simplistic and near perfection. The staging of this production was fantastic, and that’s hard to do when most of the set is cubicles. It seems like basic theatre knowledge that directors would use levels, but in this production it seemed so naturalistic and creative. It also helps that the sets were absolutely stunning, and so detailed, that it would have been like a playground working in that space.

Now lets talk about the amazing cast. This production really is an ensemble piece, and it was so entertaining to watch how everyone played of each other and how their relationships developed. Again I can’t stress enough how simplistic this production was. It was so refreshing to watch actors listen and react to each other. Everything was raw and realistic.

Ryan Spahn, who played Dean, gave such a moving performance. I went from believing this guy is a jerk; to he’s just a slacker, to rooting for him. He gave such a balanced performance with his comedic timing, to his powerful and saddening aftermath in act two. Catherine Combs, who portrayed Ani, is effortless. She has a presences that is unforgettable. I found myself watching her when she was just listening to her fellow actors. Jennifer Kim gives so much life to her character Kendra. Her comedic timing is perfection, and her bantering and rants are hysterical, and hit home because most of what she says is the sad truth. Kyle Beltran who plays the quiet intern Miles, is anything but quiet. He might have not said much in the first act, but I was always aware of where he was. He also shows impressive character work in the second act. Jeanine Serralles plays Gloria, and she managed to make me laugh, scream, and so scared I had to close my eyes for a second. Michael Crane played the sad character Lorin. He managed to give a hysterical performance but it turn into one of the saddest story lines.

This show will make you feel almost every emotion possible. It makes you think, ask questions, and truly figure out what you want out of life. I didn’t want it to end, and with that, I will see it again because… its THAT good!

Review By: Briana Burnside
Photos By: Carol Rosegg

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