This past Thursday brought me to one of my favorite venues The Little Lake Theatre, located in Canonsburg. The place has a special ambiance to it that few others in the area can achieve. First, the plays are always in the round, which I enjoy as it places the audience into the midst of all the happenings of the play. Furthermore, the seating takes many in the audience to within but a few feet of the actors. You can see everything in amazing, up front, and personal detail. The actors are left with very little room for mistakes so they are on point at all times. This provides the audience with something special, something to enjoy.
This past week brought the opening night for Dead Accounts, and as I have said before, the magic of the first night once again hung heavy in the air as the cast and audience anxiously awaited the lights to dim.
The play, written by Theresa Rebeck, found its first production on Broadway. This current production found its director in the favorite son of Little Lake, Art DeConciliis. As luck would have it, my wife knew Mr. DeConciliis and after a brief introduction he explained that the show had not well received in New York City, due in large part to poor casting in his opinion, but should prove to provide for a fantastic evening, nevertheless. We were not led astray.
As the play unfolds, we meet Jack as played by the Little Lake Theatre’s beloved star Gregory Caridi. I have had the fortune to watch him perform a couple of times now and he plays a great protagonist. He serves as the anchor to the action on the stage sweeping the audience away into the tumults of the conflicts within the story. Caridi has a charisma that at times might seem larger than the stage he’s on, but he no doubt feels at ease in the roles he has been cast in. If you haven’t seen him perform, well, don’t let the opportunity slip away.
The protagonist’s mother, Barbara, as played by Marianne Shaffer brought me to the edge of fantasy as I could see in her every mother who ever worried, within her a simplicity that defines the American mom of years gone by. Sure there are many of them still around, but fewer and fewer. These are the women whose sole responsibility had been to raise the family, assure that all the children ate, as well as their husbands, maintained a household, and performed every single detail to the nth degree. All the bases were covered. No one came up short, and she did this without ever complaining. She didn’t need a duel career. If she had tried she would have been hospitalized with exhaustion. This had been the character I saw. A proud American mother.
There were three other characters as well, Lorna, Jack’s Sister, as played by Danette Marie Levers. We had Phil, Jack’s friend, played to completeness by Vincent Marshall, and of course we cannot forget Jenny, Jack’s soon to be ex, as played by Rebecca MacTaggart. All of the cast has been fitted well into their roles. If such casting had been accomplished in other productions, then perhaps the play itself would have met with much greater success.
In total, The Little Lake Theatre has provided the complete package. They deliver a fantastic bit of theater with top notch, dedicated actors, who provide flawless performances, after all this happens to be their 67th season, and they have good food and drinks to top it off. You can’t find a single thing wrong with this production. I know I have said it before as I have had the good fortune of attending performances here prior to this last Thursday, but if you are in the mood to take in a play then take a ride to Canonsburg.
Special thanks to the Little Lake Theatre for complimentary press tickets. For tickets and more information check out Little Lake’s website.
Performance Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015