Thread of the Warp is a 90 minute play written by Sean Michael Welch. He came to Albion to teach a workshop class as well as see the production unfold for the very first time. Directed and set design by Mark Hoffland, with original score by Mark Stewart, costumes designed by Amber Cook, Lighting design by Michah Bryan and Stage Manager is Cherith Hague.
Threah of the Warp is set in the 90’s. Jacob Bloom is a teen who puts all of his emotional baggage into his love of the heavy rock band: Bloody Scabs. His over-bearing yet inattentive mother, Ann, is always trying to keep Jacob in check, as well as gossip constantly over the phone. His father is going through a mid life crisis where he feels the need to write poetry about murdering his spiteful students. Jacob also has a little brother who watches television the entire show. Jacob talks to his Bloody Scabs poster throughout the play as he tries to work out his angst. Wexler, the lead singer of the Bloody Scabs, talks back to him through readings of interviews and a close knowledge of music. Jacob deals with issues of peer pressure, maturity, listening skills and the music industry through his family, friends and idols. Overall, I would say the show has its ups and downs. The plot is very simple, like the minds of the female characters, and the story isn’t the most compelling, but the acting, stage dynamic, and costumes were impressive.
The stage was dynamic with a large, wheeled table setting up most of the scenes. The lighting wasn’t too dark or distracting, and it would set the tone of the scene. Most of the scenes dealing with the Bloody Scabs were redder and darker, while the family room scenes were bright, like a typical family home. The costumes were very original and fit the era well. I especially enjoyed Wexler and his female minion costumes. They were sculptural and goth; visually interesting.
Jacob Bloom: Tyler Moylan – Moylan portrayed the lonely, awkward teen quite well. He always had his hands in his pockets and his downcast stare showed his character’s lack of confidence. Moylan displayed intriguing facial expressions and his voice clued the audience in on his feelings, especially in his more emotional moments. Moylan had great chemistry with the other cast members. He seemed familiar with Wexler’s presence, he was shy around Denise, and he was subdued yet frustrated around his parents. One critique I would offer to him is he is a little stiff in his movements. It made him seem more awkward than necessary.
Wexler: Max Brosnahan-Lusk – Brosnahan-Lusk was a splendid choice to play Wexler. His commanding stage presence seemed like that of a rock star. His booming voice paired with wild facial expressions and exaggerated hand movement made him very expressive. When Wexler undergoes a transition of heart, Brosnahan-Lusk’s mood and movements shift to being peaceful and calm. His relationship to other cast members was more aggressive as rock star Wexler, but more intimate and touchy when he transitioned. At some points, his lines felt forced and he didn’t always seem to know what he was talking about. Maybe that was an aspect of his character, or maybe it was a lack of emotion behind the acting, but I didn’t always know how I was supposed to feel while he was talking.
Ann Bloom: Meghan Bortle – Bortle has a lively stage presence. She is very expressive and often travels about the stage quickly. She portrays an overbearing mother well by constantly getting too close to her children, but she also ignores them frequently by turning her back on them or looking over at the phone or her plants. Bortle has interesting facial expressions and hand gestures, adding to her performance. One issue would be that Bortle uses a stage voice more fit for an English play, while this one is set in the United States. Her voice didn’t always seem to fit her part.
Quince Bloom: Andrew Zimmer – I enjoyed Zimmer’s character, it was fun to watch his decline into slight maddens and bring himself almost full circle. Zimmer was aloof, attentive, calm and crazy. He’d have moments of intense thought where he would become self-absorbed, but he would also mellow out when talking to the other characters. Zimmer had a lack of facial expressions, but his vocal tone held a lot of emotion. He used his body in expression, too, with arm movements and using the stage.
Sonny: Brandon Marino – Marino used a lot of slang and slouchy posture to portray his druggy teen character. Sonny was also sly and witty with Marino showed through attentive facial expressions and well done body language.
Denise & Betty / The Minions: Victoria Gitre & Terra Travis – Gitre and Travis had good chemistry as Denise and Betty as well as the Minions. They were entertaining as the minions with their unintelligent lines and valley-girl style of speech. With Denise and Betty, Travis was confident ans talkative., knowing what she wanted. She was flirty and got close to the other characters. Gitre seemed more shy around Moylan,whom her character has a crush on. It was enjoyable to watch her play with her hair and test her personal space boundaries.
Jeffrey Canterbury: Peter Verhaeghe – Verhaeghe was lively and well-pronounced. He looked at the audience a lot as if he was on a television show. He trounced around the stage excitedly and had a condescending air about him.
Tickets are $2 at the Herrick Theatre. Thursday Nov. 20 through Saturday Nov. 21 at 8pm with a final showing Sunday Nov. 22 at 2pm.