ShowBizRadio

Theatre Information

Richmond Triangle Players The Busy World is Hushed

By • Mar 6th, 2013 • Category: Reviews, Virginia
The Busy World is Hushed
Richmond Triangle Players: (Info) (Web)
Richmond Triangle Players Theatre, Richmond, VA
Through March 16th
2:00 with one intermission
$21-$26
Reviewed February 28th, 2013

As the Acts of Faith Festival winds down, Richmond Triangle Players has opened their third entry (actually second and a half as Managing Director Philip Crosby pointed out, since Before it Hits Home was actually an entry for Sycamore Rouge that premiered at RTP). The Busy World is Hushed is another challenging production, both due to the content of the theme of the show and the nuances of the characters.

The Busy World is Hushed examines the contradictions we find in our faith, our families and ourselves. Hannah, a widowed Episcopal minister, is hoping to translate a long-lost gospel when she is challenged by both her scholarly assistant and her wayward gay son. When family secrets are revealed, only the intercession of a stranger can help Hannah find peace.”

The actors face a tough task of portraying characters who have built strong walls around themselves, while making these same characters three-dimensional and interesting. This did not translate well in the first act, where the performances were a bit stiff and the actors did not seem to connect well with one another. However, this weakness made the second act all the more poignant when the actors displayed a great deal of anger, pain and emotion. As things wind down and reach their resolution in the second to last scene, you could hear audible sobbing and sniffling throughout the audience, as the actors not only connected with their characters and one another, but with the audience as well.

Linda Beringer is cold, hard, clerical and business-like as Hannah, the mother and Episcopal priest. Chris O’Neill comes across as casual, laid-back, shy and yet self-assured as Hannah’s new assistant, Brandt. Brandt, who is gay, is trying to come to grips with his sexuality, his faith and the illness of his father. As a priest in a more liberal Christian denomination, Hannah assures Brandt that man has altered God’s word, and she questions the legitimacy of the bigotry man has read into the Bible against gay people.

Chris Hester exudes energy, mischievousness, and a touch of brattiness as Hannah’s Prodigal son, Thomas. Thomas has been forever running away, since he was 10, but has returned home as he seeks answers about his father’s drowning death before he was born. He has now lived longer than his father did; and his mother’s mission in life is to keep him alive. Hannah tries to plan out his life, even to the point of encouraging Brandt to fall in love with her son; while Thomas struggles to live his life without a plan or commitments.

Keith Bunin’s script is lyrical and masterfully written. His use of language and expository dialogue keep the scenes moving smoothly. There are so many beautiful, quotable lines; it is hard to pick just a few. For instance, Hannah explains she feels that the Bible “stains” or distorts the words of God, like her stained glass windows distort the light outside, yet, she also points out that to take God away from the world would leave us with pain with no chance of redemption.

All three characters are lonely, yet, Hannah points out that Jesus must have been lonelier than anyone — coming to a world of people He loved but did not know Him and rejected Him. She says He came to teach us how to live and love and deal with pain and earth. While Thomas and Brandt leave searching for what they believe, Hannah remains steadfast that she believes what she says she believes.

Director Dexter M. Ramey keeps the show moving well; utilizing the small stage space to keep it visually appealing. Alexandra Valentin’s costumes help establish the characters appropriately, with Hannah dressed clerically, Thomas boyishly, and Brandt casually. Overall, K. Jenna Ferree’s lights work well, but it would have helped in a scene where we hear thunder to see lightning flashes outside of the window. Also, during scene changes there were some problems syncing the sound fading out and the lights coming up; with the sound suddenly cutting rather than fading, and then a pause before the lights returned. David Allan Ballas created an elaborate set for Hannah’s apartment complete with stained glass windows, a beautiful cathedral-like door and books and boxes strewn all about.

Just as each of the three characters search for their faith; I have faith that some of the rough edges will be smoothed out during the run of the show.

Photo Gallery

Linda Beringer (as Hannah) and Chris O'Neill (as Brandt) share a moment before heading into church Chris Hester (as Tom) shares a difficult moment with his mother (Linda Beringer), putting her assistant Brandt (Chris O'Neill) in an awkward situation
Linda Beringer (as Hannah) and Chris O’Neill (as Brandt) share a moment before heading into church
Chris Hester (as Tom) shares a difficult moment with his mother (Linda Beringer), putting her assistant Brandt (Chris O’Neill) in an awkward situation
Chris Hester (as Tom) and Chris O'Neill (as Brandt) share a joyous moment
Chris Hester (as Tom) and Chris O’Neill (as Brandt) share a joyous moment

Photos by John MacLellan

Cast

  • Hannah: Linda Beringer
  • Brandt: Chris O’Neill
  • Thomas: Chris Hester

Crew

  • Director: Dexter M. Ramey
  • Set Designer: David Allan Ballas
  • Costume Designer: Alexandra Valentin
  • Lighting Designer: K. Jenna Ferree
  • Stage Manager: Corrie L. Barton
  • Managing Director: Philip Crosby
  • Artistic Director: John Knapp

Disclaimer: Richmond Triangle Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

This article can be linked to as: http://showbizradio.com/go/9260.

Comments are closed.