Azuka Theatre, Mandell team up for performance
Issue date: 11/6/09 Section: Arts & Entertainment
The first part of the story is presented by a Man and Woman (Seth Reichgott and Amanda Grove)-married, but only in a legal sense; who have three children, but worry mostly over their own quandaries. All speech is exchanged and completed quickly and comedically between the two as they not only rapidly expel their own lines but also their children, as well as narrations of both their thoughts and their spouse's. Only after a disastrous celebration at the grandparents' and a grave car ride home is the audience truly exposed to children Rebecca, Stephen and Claire (Janice Rowland, Keith J. Conallen and Allison Heishman). The kids are finally able to communicate for themselves, but at a cost. No sooner do they first speak than the story jumps years into the future where the children, now grown with troubles to spare, take to the stage in turn with lengthy and heart-breakingly lonely monologues spawned from that one fateful Christmas night.
This offbeat production marks the opening of the Azuka Theatre's 10th anniversary season, and by the amount of talent presented by its actors, Azuka Theatre proves that it has much to celebrate. "The Long Christmas Ride Home" is directed by Aaron Cromie, a Philadelphia based director, performer, teacher and mask/puppet designer. Set designer Craig Vetter provides the company with a beautifully-styled and cleverly functional stage. Teamed with the Azuka Theatre is the Mandell Professionals in Residence Project and a handful of talented undergraduate Drexel Players. "The Long Christmas Ride Home" is playing at Mandell Theater Wednesday, Nov. 4 through Sunday, Nov. 15, with tickets ranging from $15-25.