Review by Diana Prasad
284 Empire Service by Paloma D’Auria. Starring Gregory, Heather Olsen, Sydney Soucy and Akoni Steinmann. Stage Manager, Edgar Yanez.
Part of The Fifth Annual Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival running through March 1, 2015 at Roy Arias Studios, Stage II.
As the lights fade up the stage reveals two couples lined up in a row, the lights then transition to each individual briefly questioning their truth on the subject of love and relationships. One couple falls apart while the other grows together. Krista (Sydney Soucy) and Wesley (Akoni Steinmann) try to salvage their dwindling relationship. Tense energy emerges as they convey lack of conviction within themselves as well as uncertainty for commitment. Insecure choices hinder their growth to continue love for each other which eventually becomes a crystallized truth, it’s over.
On the opposite end Carter (Gregory Archer) and Adelaide (Heather Olsen) meet aboard an Amtrak train, they connect immediately. At first they flirt and joke around then stimulating conversations arise as Carter asks Adelaide what is her purpose for being on this ride. She opens up with some resistance explaining she left her family to begin an independent life. Carter responds with he is moving on from a past relationship. The two continue to connect and share their passion for super heroes while sending out playful vibes to each other.
All four actors conveyed their emotions well enough to understand the circumstances surrounding their situations. However 30 minutes was not enough time for character development. Certain sound ques distorted the train conductors’ lines which made listening strenuous as he mentioned “all aboard” and names of various stops. Everything else was excellent, the lighting design by Scott Schneider painted a convincing picture setting the mode to reflect the environment. At the end the message was clear, relationships are journeys couples ride together.
Some reach an ending destination while others begin a new ride to happiness.