First there was Hurricane Sandy causing flooding in the area. Now at the corner of N. Charles Street and North Avenue, just a couple of blocks from the Everyman Theatre, a water pipe has exploded flooding N. Charles. At the moment of the writing of this review, alternate parking is suggested to patrons at Central Parking, 21 E. Lanvale Street, located behind Penn Stataion for the same price as the garage located directly across from the theater.
What a way to say good-bye to the Everyman Theatre's location on N. Charles Prior to their move to W. Fayette St. in January.
I must admit when I left my seat at the end of this splendid production of HEROES, I was a little misty eyed knowing this will be the last play I see in this old theater. I will miss it. So many wonderful memories and tremendous theater.
What a way to end it's long run on Charles Street. Artistic Director Vince Lancisi picked a play that features a small cast of three that won Britain's Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. It's funny, poignant, and will make you laugh. But there's a lot of heart in it as well. As a matter of fact, the play reminded me a little of the Center Stage production of HEARTS a few years ago that dealt with post-traumatic stress syndrome and four World War II veterans.
Wonderfully directed by Donald Hicken, HEROES was written by Tom Stoppard who adapted it from the original French play by Gerald Sibleyras. It deals with veterans of World War I but takes place in 1959, some forty years after the end of the war in 1918 and involves three heroes. There's Henri (played the terrific John Dow) and Philippe (played by the master and member of the Everyman Resident Theatre Company Carl Schurr). They have been staying at the veterans' home for many years. Then, a new border arrives, Gustave (played by the accomplished actor Wil Love, also a member of the Everyman resident Acting Company) who has only been at the home for six months. Gustave looks remarkably like the famous architect Gustave Eiffel.
They each have their individual problems. Gustav has become agoraphobic, has problems meeting with people and hasn't left the home for three months. Henri's left leg is in a brace and uses a cane but has met a lovley woman who teaches at a young girl's school nearby during his many walks. Phillippe has dizzy spells and faints often due to a piece of shrapnel lodged in his head. After he faints, he wakes up and says "From the rear Captain". You have to see the show to understand what he means and here's a hint, it has nothing to do with the military.
They all dress impeccably thanks to lovely outfits by Costume Designer Ivania Stack.
Gustave opens the play wearing two medals on a grey sportcoat, silver vest, and a bright red tie. Later he puts on his World War I uniform with four medals and green beret.
The three men's conversation will remind you of Neil Simon's THE ODD COUPLE. You could even call the play THE ODD TRIO. They work so well together. They each understand each other's foibles and care deeply for each other. It is Gustave who plots an escape to get away from the home.
James Fouchard does a wonderful job with the set design (the last time a designer has to deal with those two massive steel pillars on stage) and is responsible for a cute stone statue of a dog that will play a major role in the play. I wonder who gets to keep the dog after the show.
There's also wonderful lighting by Harold F. Burgess.
Dramaturg Naomi Greenberg-Solvin has a nice article in the program in which it is revealed that 11% of the French population paid with their lives during World War I. She continues, "In a warm, bittersweet evening's entertainment, they (the playwrights) bring to life three war-scarred old men who maintain their individualities and singular personalities without ever becoming one-dimensional sterotypes."
Managing Director Ian Tresselt gave a short introduction prior to the play in which he talked about the move to the new location and the play AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY which runs January 16 to February 17, 2013. He finished by telling the audience "See you downtown!"