Dobama Theatre
Professional Equity House Theatre
When Liz Duffy Adams’ “Or,” premiered Off-Broadway in 2009, Charles Isherwood, from the New York Times, was so right about the inventive playwright.

Her language has a natural period flavor and a formidable wit; her characters possess the spark of fully animated spirits: and she weaves into her story both biographical detail and cultural context with grace.”

Or’ is based loosely on true events, and takes place (mostly) during one night in the life of Aphra Behn, real life poetess, spy, and soon to be the world’s first professional female playwright. Sprung from debtors’ prison after a disastrous overseas mission, Aphra is desperate to get out of the spy trade. Along the way, Aphra tries, kinda, to resist the charms of her new love – actress Nell Gwynne, save King Charles II’s life, win a double agent his pardon, and finish her latest play all in one night. Cue the  Restoration romp. and GO.

And GO they do. Quite simply, led by the sharp and witty direction of Shannon Sindelar, this production hits a grand slam.  Bases are loaded with three phenomenal actors:

Lara Mielcarek: Aphra Behn

Natalie Green: Nell Gwynne & others                                                                                                   Geoff Knox: Charles II & Others

Sindelar comes up to bat with a clear vision and inventive focus. She positions herself and points to where she will hit the theatrical ball into the outfield because she is confident and well aware of the ballpark. We find Green on first base. She masterfully handles Nell Gwynne as the sharp-tongued diva who drives her carriage on the other side of the road. Well developed fiery character. Green also has fun as a bent over bawdy maid, and a jailer. On second base is the fierce Knox, who emulates a theatrical American Ninja Warrior, through intelligent acting choices. He breathes life into the sexually charged William Scott, the regal King Charles II, and brings down the house, with what seems to be a rapid monologue performed in one breath, as Lady Davenant. That scene alone causes one to ask “I’ll have what she’s having”.

On third, is the magnificent Lara Mielcarek. She displays a beautiful creation of Aphra. It is my humble opinion, that Mielcarek is one of the greatest actors that Cleveland has to offer. Her execution is flawless. Her timing sublime. Her acting is a tsunami of theatrical entertainment. Watching her manipulate and transverse among these characters and her own inner demons is fabulous.

It is definitely worth a trip to Dobama to see these actors go at it. Artisitic Director Nathan Motta should be applauded for starting off the season right, and his continued use of Sindelar. Ben Needham’s set beautifully designed and aptly constructed for the mayhem of doors and closets. Technical Director David Tilk bringing all the elements professionally together as usual. Marcus Dana’s lighting offers a variety of looks from full on room views, to artistic alley ways of light which highlight emotional journeys. Richard Ingraham brings a solid sound design. Tesia Dugan Benson nailed the period costumes and provided well thought out fast change artistry. Stage Manager Megan Mingus and ASM Rocky Encladadada, provided excellent backstage craftwork, and beautifully called the show.

SEE IT!

Showtimes:

Thursday, September 17, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Friday, September 18, 2015 – 8 pm
Saturday, September 19, 2015 – 8 pm
Sunday, September 20, 2015 – 2:30 pm
Thursday, September 24, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Friday, September 25, 2015 – 8 pm
Saturday, September 26, 2015 – 8 pm
Sunday, September 27, 2015 – 2:30 pm
Thursday, October 1, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Friday, October 2, 2015 – 8 pm
Saturday, October 3, 2015 – 8 pm
Sunday, October 4, 2015 – 2:30 pm

Tickets:
$10-$25 Reserved Seating
(216) 932-3396
Order Tickets Online

Location:
Dobama Theatre
2340 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118