Schofie

Morning Breaks

In Play Reviews on March 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm

A Review

Morning Breaks, recently produced as the graduate thesis project of actress Kristin Post and director/designer Heather Brown, bluntly asks some very hard questions. It left me thoughtful, thankful for the answers that were also presented in the play.

First, let’s cover a very important aspect of this play: it is metatheatrical, meaning it is a play within a play. Because of this, the process of theatre is referenced in the dialogue as we see actors rehearsing for a play.

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The metatheatricality aside, let’s talk about the location. Not vital to the discussion of every play, the location for Morning Breaks never changed. All of the action took place in the “rehearsal space” for the play being rehearsed throughout the story. It sounds confusing, I know, but it was easy to watch. Either the “actors” were “rehearsing” or the characters were interacting within their “rehearsal space.” Because of that constant, the metatheatricality worked well.

 Another reason the metatheatricality worked was because it gave the play the ability to go from a very tense situation in a scene “being rehearsed” to a lighthearted or even comic moment as the characters stopped “rehearsing.”

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director Heather Brown, actor Ben Ascher, and playwright Kristin Post

Because of this helpful technique, the play was able to discuss very serious subject matter without seeming overwhelming or unnecessarily heavy.

Now, a look at the story itself: A woman – or two women; the audience has to figure that out as the play progresses – has battled cancer in the past. During the play, it recurs, plunging her and her husband into an emotional battle to stay positive in the face of very uncertain circumstances.

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actor Sterling Street (right)

Kaye, the woman with cancer, is played by two actors. One is playing Kaye in the play within the play. The other is also Kaye, but she is a Kaye confined to the words of the script that the characters are rehearsing. This script-bound Kaye is longing to read ahead to find out what will happen to her and her family, whilst the acting-Kaye is confused that this woman with her character’s name seems to actually be the woman from their script.

Yes, at times this duplicity was a tad confusing, but it reinforced the idea that we, as real people, are confined to the script of our lives. We just don’t know what will come next. As the play concludes, Kaye and her husband fight to continue trusting that an all-powerful God really does have their best in mind. Although they are never “happy” about their circumstances, they do come to a place of trusting God for this day, and leaving all the coming days in His hand. A fitting reminder to all of us who are struggling with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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actress Janie Mayer (right)

Now, let’s quickly examine the work of the actors, designers, etc. The space was very simple, using black boxes as hospital beds, etc. Also in the performance space were chairs and a prop rack to the side, used for the “rehearsals.” The costumes were simple, fitting each character but not symbolic or a big deal in themselves. This allowed the audience to focus on the story, which was the most important element. A few performances were especially notable. First, the playwright, Kristin Post, played the script-bound Kaye, and did a remarkable job with both. Heather Brown, the director, also played a small part of a visiting friend. This performance stretched her as an actor and was very enjoyable. Janie Mayer, playing the other Kaye, did a great job of communicating a lot of stress and pain without going overboard or becoming cliché.

Overall, Morning Breaks was very enjoyable, and everyone in attendance received a great reminder about our fragile lives, and the challenges accompanying them. 

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By Katrina CaseBio_Shots-3

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