October 19, 2018
It’s too bad that movie theaters no longer have the marquees that extend over the sidewalk and have those big plastic letters that told you who was staring in what movie or play. (Okay, there are some still left, but I need to make a point.)
If they did, it would be a crowded marquee, judging from the performances at last night’s UNC School of the Arts production “American Voices.” Names like Nikyla Boxley, who played Clara in “A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White” and Julia Sismour, who played Mrs. Venable in “Suddenly Last Summer,” which, as far as I’m concerned, is about the best of Tennessee Williams’ plays.
They were supported by a cast destined to make their mark in the theatrical world and I wish I could comment on all their performances. But I don’t do reviews because that’s above my pay grade. What I can do, however, is tell you that, first, you’re lucky if you have tickets to the sold-out performances*, and, second, I was riveted to my seat by Ms. Sismour’s portrayal of a mother unwilling to let go of her precious son. My biggest complaint about productions of the school is that all the actors are so…well, young. I don’t expect someone in the bloom of youth to be able to convincingly play a half-crippled senior citizen dominating the scene. Boy, am I wrong. Ms. Sismour’s foot-dragging performance made me want to get out of my seat and help her cross the stage or, on the other hand, hide her wheelchair when she needed to sit. The role itself is tailor-made for scene dominance, and she was ably assisted by the cast members who had to project a range of facial expressions as Ms. Sismour was carrying on.
*So hold on to your seats because you’re in for a dynamite evening. You should check with the ticket office at Hanesbrands Theater because although Friday is sold out, maybe Saturday isn’t.
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