Audio Podcast available on ITUNES
Narrated by Joshua Volkers
The New Colony presents
At Second Stage, 3408 N. Sheffield
Written by Evan Linder
Conceived by Mary Hollis Inboden
Directed by Benno Nelson
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays at 7:30pm
Thru April 17th
Running Time: Eighty minutes with no intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Virginia Tech, Columbine, Jonesboro = gunfire! Three random locations are linked eternally by student assassins. One deadly day changes the historical association of a place. If the *locale* loses its previous identity, what happens to the people? Who are the victims that live? The New Colony presents the world premiere of THE WARRIORS. It gets personal as New Colony company member Mary Hollis tries to-go-home-again to Jonesboro. Mary Hollis distanced herself from a tragic childhood by leaving. Her classmates kept close by staying. Now, she wants back in to the group. Is it to late to bandage together to heal? Can childhood pals survive killers and growing apart? Is one death-defying moment enough for friendship to endure? And is it a good enough reason to be together? THE WARRIORS combat memories, identity and each other in a humorous tale of forgiveness.
As is their forte, The New Colony devises this show with the very personal recollections of Mary Hollis Inboden’s experience. Utilizing a collection of interviews from the survivors, Playwright Evan Linder works with the ensemble to create authentic dialogue. At the focal point, Inboden is playing herself. The scenes are a series of Inboden’s interactions with her friends. It feels natural with some tension, some humor, some weirdness… just like reconnecting with any neglected relationship. Friends or acquaintances? At the heart of the show is a familiar theme to anyone. Is there really a ‘forever’ in childhood BFF? Exploring that notion is interesting in itself. Add in post traumatic stress and THE WARRIORS engages on multiple layers.
Under the direction of Benno Nelson and the upbeat personality of Inboden, the angst is limited. Instead of going survivor sensational with raw, bullet flying intensity, THE WARRIORS keep it real. The characters share different perspectives as victims with underlying humor. They admit to ‘down day’ scenarios and laugh at a stranger’s fascination in wanting to know bullet proximity. Hilariously, Nicole Pellegrino (Camille) plays it perky, quirky with a life built on disaster-related regularity. Whit Nelson (JC) is pure angry, tortured artist. Understudy Vanessa Valliere (Danni) charms with wistful sorrow balanced with quiet strength. Michael Peters (Logan) commands the situation with a few words spoken with matter-of-fact clarity. Peters explains his ‘down face’ with touching simplicity. Wes Needham (Jeff) delivers light and breezy honesty and comedy as Mary Hollis’ new boyfriend.
On an enchanting set with multiple hanging prisms and light fixtures (Designer Shaun Renfro), THE WARRIORS advance their lives onward! THE WARRIORS is a friendly sit-down with victims of an unimaginable childhood event. The show connects the audience in such a casual manner I almost blurted out ‘where were you standing on the playground?’ THE WARRIORS lets you do a slow drive-by and gawk at the old wreckage from someone’s childhood.