Some of the craziest things I’ve ever done can be traced back to a boy. Skoal Bandits, upside-down margaritas, a failed fetal pig rescue, dares have always been a warped flirtation for me. The boy-of-the-moment throwing down a gauntlet has often inspired me to bizarre antics. Love makes us do silly things but infatuation leads us to heights of stupidity. Eclipse Theatre presents THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK. It’s 1936 in Anywhere, USA. The depression oppresses. People are unemployed. Families are
miserable. Life is stuck in a perpetual state of nothingness. Out of the gloom, a weird excitement winks. Fifteen year old Dalton meets seventeen year old Pace. Dalton is an ordinary, naive teenager. Pace is a train-obsessed, freaky girl. Dalton is gray. Pace is psychedelic. Pace goads Dalton into mind-controlling foreplay. Together, they discover the colorful passion in a dreary world. THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK is a powerful saga of survival.
Eclipse Theatre commits to one playwright’s work per season. THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK is the second Naomi Wallace show of the season. The first was A Flea to Spare. In both shows, Wallace creates historical flashbacks with intriguing characters. It gives the audience a snippet of the time period and the real challenges of the people living it. In THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK, Wallace has two love stories battling depression era forces. Besides teen love, Dalton’s parents, Gin and Dray, cope with unemployment and desolation. The dialogue is authentic. On a somber wooden set designed by Joe Schermoly, the ambiance is gritty reality. The bleakness consumes the surroundings. It all works perfectly together to set the right tone for a boy falling for a lunatic girl. She’s the only thing truly alive in his dark world.
And Marissa Cowsill (Pace) is definitely alive. Cowsill is high-spirited animation. She delivers her rattling train descriptions all bright-faced and big-eyed. Under the masterful direction of Jonathan Barry, Cowsill and Cindy Marker (Gin) close the first act by sending shivers through my body. Marker’s resignation to her mundane existence contrasts poignantly with Cowsill’s energetic oddity. Marker responds to her son’s inquiry about being his age with bittersweet defeat. That brief exchange compels beyond the curtain. Her son, Matt Farabee (Dalton), endears as a youthful innocent. Farabee is more than believable as a teenager struggling with an eccentric girlfriend, domineering mother and absentee father. The scenes aren’t in sequential order. So, it requires Farabee to go back and forth between *awakening* and gullibility. Farabee does it... magnificently.
THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK is a heavy-duty story that asks simply: what would you do for love? What part of yourself would you give up for someone else? And what could you leave behind to follow that love? THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK is depressingly beautiful!
Running Time: Two hours includes an intermission
At Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln
Written by Naomi Wallace
Directed by Jonathan Berry
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 2pm
Thru September 4th