Oberlin Summer Theater Festival closed this past weekend, and my biggest regret is that I didn’t get there earlier. Based on what I saw during the production of Come Back, Little Sheba by William Inge, and directed by Paul Moser, I will not make that mistake again. I would suggest that all of us, put it on our calendar for next summer and be on the lookout.
The Festival produces high quality productions and is populated by Oberlin’s Professional teaching staff, and students of the Oberlin College and Conservatory. Any actors that join in on the programming from outside, are exceptional performers. The most amazing part of this gift, it that it is FREE to the public. Oberlin itself is a quaint town with shops and restaurants to explore before or after the show. There is even another theatre of high regard in the area, The Mad Factory. It is a perfect theatrical storm of talent, which leaves you enriched and fulfilled and extra money for dessert.
The production of Come Back, Little Sheba was riveting. Karen Nelson Moser*, as Lola, brought a damaged and honest truth, which allowed herself if delve fearlessly into the world of co-dependence. Matthew Wright* provided a devastating arc to Doc. Wright brilliantly wore the veil of strength and old fashioned ideals, while slowly peeling back layers that eventually revealed a darkness that could only be assuaged by alcohol. It was a powerful descent into the hell that the Serenity Prayer fights against. Annie Winneg as Marie brought a realistic portrayal of young love, and the fickle moments that teeter on destroying what is really good. Her honesty of who she was, lent itself to be a formidable assault on the veneer of Doc. Colin Wulff, as Turk, was perfect in physicality and manner. Wulff delivered a solid rendering of this young man, pursuing love with straightforward passion, and playful angst.
The rest of the cast was solid. So much so, that when Danny Prikazsky, as the Milkman, arrived on the scene, I wanted to punch him for being cold to Lola. Jordan Golding, Laura Starnik, David Cotton, William Quick, Axandre Oge, Tiffany Ames and Pete Ferry* rounded out the talented ensemble of supporting characters.
I can’t wait for next summer. I will not miss this fabulous opportunity again. I call road trip, and shotgun!
*This actor appears courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association.
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