Tuesday, September 13, 2016

reviews - THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN - iTheatre Collaborative

Brad Bond and Judy Rollings
photo: Mark Gluckman
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through September 17th.

"With Alzheimer's disease and dementia becoming more prominent in our lives, both as detailed topics of discussion and in the impact they have on our loved ones and ourselves, Eric Coble's recent play The Velocity of Autumn, which focuses on the early stage impact of those diseases, has a deep resonance. It tells the increasingly familiar story of an agitated widow who is starting to forget things but refuses to receive any help, let alone be moved to a nursing home. iTheatre Collaborative's presentation of this well written two-hander features two talented actors and excellent direction, resulting in a deeply moving production. Seventy-nine-year-old Alexandra is becoming less and less of herself. ..she states matter-of-factly that she is "done" and ready to die, but only on her own terms and at her own home. Her two eldest children, however, have other ideas and are trying to get her moved to a nursing home. So Alexandra barricades herself in her Brooklyn apartment. She doesn't just block the doors with furniture and refuse to speak to her children but also fills dozens of bottles with a flammable fluid and scatters these makeshift molotov cocktails across the room, ready to set fire to her home and end her life—and possibly the lives of the other tenants as well....filled with realistic dialogue that contains humor and hope along with despair. Coble paints two characters who exhibit traits that are extremely identifiable—an estranged son and an aging parent, both unable to deal with the pressures of life and feeling detached from and uncomfortable with their place in it. ...
Director Rosemary Close ...ensures the cadence, tone and volume of the text is realistically delivered. The humorous exchanges are timed perfectly to achieve big laughs, and the several deeply emotional moments draw the audience in with expert delivery. ...Judy Rollings and Brad Bond are superb as Alexandra and Chris. They achieve a natural mother/son relationship in the way they speak to each other and how they interact. ...the passion and wit of this artistic woman who now realizes her life is changing, and not for the better, is always present in Rollings' portrayal. ...Bond is equally.. adept at showing us the many layers of the character which become even more apparent once we discover the pain and confusion Chris has encountered. His monologue about a recent tragic ordeal is perfectly delivered with a deep emotional conviction. Christopher Haines' set design effectively portrays Alexandra's simple second story apartment ... iTheatre Collaborative is presenting a superb production of a wonderful play about second chances. It is deeply moving and not be to be missed. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...“The Velocity of Autumn,” Eric Coble’s intimate drama about a mother and son facing a future that’s all too certain. ...A smartly written story of reconciliation, the dialog is embroidered with some intriguing meditations on art, but it’s the sincere, often funny performances by the two actors that makes “Autumn” worth your time..."Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

"...In The Velocity of Autumn, 79-year-old Alexandra grapples with her impending mortality, and the slow, but inevitable loss of the nimble, creative woman she was in her youth...Her son, Chris, is the only one Alexandra will listen to....What could have easily dissolved into a sappy, quirky run-of-the-mill piece, instead is a provocative insight into repressed existential thought, and the inevitable train we all refuse to see coming. Judy Rollings..perfectly portrays all sides of Alexandra: the witty, artistic intellectual who can easily exchange banter--and tenderness--with her son, as well as the quick-tempered, snappy woman struggling with dementia and loss of self. ...Brad Bond as Chris...evokes a rare genuineness and sympathetic patience the audience never grows tired of. ...Playwright Eric Coble's dark and all-too-real existential script is impeccably timed with cute punchlines and casual humor, representing the ease with which the characters divert to humor to cope with their real-life issues. The monologues are beautiful, and several lines are unforgettable...Director and producer Rosemary Close's blocking was overall very natural, and seemed less like "play blocking" and more like actual real-life movement. ...The Velocity of Autumn is a mirror into oneself--it is about analyzing your own humanity, knowing the end could come any day. It urges you to make your life one of meaning through love and beauty...."  - Erin Kong, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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