Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Dry Land
Urbanite Theatre
Review by William S. Oser | Season Schedule


: Ellie McCaw and Jordan Boyer
Photo by Ryan Finzelar/Urbanite Theatre
Urbanite Theatre, riding a huge wave of success, offering first a summer season of three plays, then a winter season of four more, now opens its 2nd full season with Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel. This play was developed at Ojai Playwrights Conference, Robert Egan Artistic Director and producer. Dry Land tackles the issue of abortion centering around adolescent girls. The play takes about 20 minutes to hit its stride, but once it does, it is totally gripping. Warning, the play has strong language and graphic content.

The story follows Amy, a member of her high school swim team and pregnant. Her new best friend Ester helps her through the tribulations of attempting to self abort the pregnancy. Ellie McCaw is magnificent as Amy; she leaves herself littered all over the stage at each performance. Equaling her performance, but in a less emotional role, is Jordan Boyer as Ester. Both of these young ladies are graduates of Booker High School's Visual and Performing Arts program, a few years apart. Ms. McCaw appeared with director Summer Dawn Wallace in Freak and all this history shows up as extra strong chemistry between Ms. McCaw and Ms. Boyer and between the director and her cast. In much smaller parts, Olivia Segal as Reba, Josh James as Victor, and Richard LeVene as the janitor are all effective.

Director Summer Dawn Wallace gets top notch performances from her entire cast. Her staging of the scene in which Amy actually aborts is horrifying. She manages to make it as graphic as possible stopping short of showing what the audience would not wish to see. Richard Cannon replicates an actual girls locker room on the stage, including a working toilet stall. Monica Cross's costumes are perfect, with bathing suits for each of the women and changeable outer garments as the action progresses. Lighting by Ryan Finzelber is brilliant, especially in the abortion scene.

The entire production is one of Urbanite's very best and that is saying a great deal when Chicken Shop and Isaac's Eye are part of the company's history. Dry Land is exactly what Sarasota audiences have come to expect from Urbanite Theatre: a challenging play, brilliantly acted and produced. This play is not for everybody, but I will never forget it.

Urbanite Theatre presents Dry Land through July 24, 2016, at 1487 2nd St. Sarasota. Visit www.urbanitetheatre.com for more information.

Cast:
Amy: Ellie McCaw
Ester: Jordan Boyer
Reba: Olivia Segal
Victor: Josh James
Janitor: Richard LeVene

Summer Dawn Wallace: Director
Brendan Ragan: Co Artistic Director and Sound Designer
Amanda LaForge: Stage Manager
Richard Cannon: Scenic Designer
Mark Beach: Master Carpenter
Monica Cross: Costume Designer
Ryan Finzelber: Lighting Designer
Daniel Kelly: Properties Master
Tess hogan: Speech & Text Coach
Dan Granke: Fight Director
Delaney Jayne: Dramaturg
Katie Svedman and Sam Talmadge: Interns

With Special Thanks to:
Steve Csonka
Asolo Rep
Asolo Scenic Studio
Neil Herren & Lex Jet
Debye Bernard & Twice's Nice Furniture and Collectibles
Community Foundation of Sarasota County
The Resort at Longboat Key Club
Whole Foods Market Sarasota
Rew Tippin
Richard LeVene
Gary LaParl


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