@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.
 

Twitch

By Amy Lanasa, Directed by Ross Marks

  • (L to R:) Zephyr (Taylor Rey)and Raisin (Grace Marks)
  • (L to R:) Cliff (Daniel Delaney) Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim) and Krysti (Lila LeCuyer)
  • Heather (Janet Mazdra)
  • (L to R:) Krysti (Lila LeCuyer), Raisin (Grace Marks), Cliff (Daniel Delaney) and Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim)
  • (L to R:) Cliff (Daniel Delaney) and Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim)
  • L to R: Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim), Sawyer (Shiloh Holloway), Zephyr (Taylor Rey), Raisin (Grace Marks), Krysti (Lila LeCuyer)
  • (L to R:) Krysti (Lila LeCuyer), Heather (Janet Mazdra) and Zephyr (Taylor Rey)
  • (L to R:) Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim) and Zephyr (Taylor Rey)
  • (L to R:) Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim) and Sawyer (Shiloh Holloway)
  • (L to R:) Cliff (Daniel Delaney) and Raisin (Grace Marks)
  • (L to R:) Zephyr (Taylor Rey) and Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim)
  • L to R: Heather (Janet Mazdra), Zephyr (Taylor Rey), Sawyer (Shiloh Holloway), Raisin (Grace Marks), Krysti (Lila LeCuyer) and Athena (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim)

Mar 01-Mar 17, 2013

FRI MAR 1, 8| 8:00 PM
SAT MAR 2, 9| 8:00 PM
SUN MAR 10,17| 2:30 PM
THU MAR 14 | 7:00 PM

Description

The World Premiere of a new play!

Inspired by recent events in LeRoy, NY, "Twitch" is a poignant drama with lots of laughs. The play follows a group of already marginalized high school students who begin to develop tics and Tourette's like symptoms, a condition they name "the twitch".

Zephyr (Taylor Rey) has finally convinced her doomsday-prepping father to lether attend a public school, although she is better equipped to survive a natural disaster than high school. Zephyr is placed in the Alternative Physical Education class taught by the "hands on" teacher, Mr. Allen (Shiloh Holloway.) She is joined in the class by Athena, the school Lolita (Tawanda Seussbrich-Joaquim), child genius Raisin (Grace Marks), pop-star loving Kyrsti (Lila LeCuyer), and the school hoodlum Cliff (Daniel Delaney). The twitch spreads throughout the group and then begins spreading to other students creating a media frenzy that brings the students into the national spotlight.Heather Deem (Janet Mazdra), a mother of a child with special needs who is trying to finish her journalism degree, becomes the students' voice as they search for the cause of the twitching. Though it is not clear whether the media coverage is hindering or helping the students in their search for the truth about the twitching and the truth about their own lives.

Credits

Athena
Cliff
Heather Deem
Krysti
Raisin
Sawyer
Zephyr
Director
Written By

Reviews

'Twitch' a thought provoking Dramedy - No Strings Theatre Company's production is a hit
- By Gerald M. Kane , Las Cruces Bulletin

"Thought provoking" are the two words which keep rolling around in my head while watching the world premiere performance of "Twitch" by Amy Lanasa. The same two words remain with me on the next morning as I sit down at the computer to gather my thoughts to compose this review.

While Lanasa herself told me 'Twitch' was a "poignant drama with lots of laughs," there is much, much more to contemplate in this production. It forces audience members to "go deep" - very deep. In other words, I didn't find myself laughing very much.

Based on a true incident in LeRoy New York in January 2012, several high school students (primarily girls) developed physical and verbal tics and twitches. Transforming this news event into a significant and insightful play takes vision, skill and real talent. Lanasa, together with her director Ross Kagan Marks make the stage vibrate with tension and excitement. In truth, it took me a while to "get into" the story, but I later realized that is how Lanasa makes the tension build.

We first encounter adult student Heather Deem, played with the appropriate anxiousness and a touch of humor by Las Cruces' theatrically omnipresent Janet Mazdra. She fiddles with a video camera to begin the first entry in her journalism assignment - to create a video journal of a newsworthy event. Her decision to re-visit her old high school to find a story, places her in a special needs classroom taught a fellow classmate, Sawyer Allen, played with touches of teaching skill, dedication and "mystery" (for lack of a better word) by Shiloh Holloway. She records most of the student / teacher interactions, which cleverly are visible to the audience up close and personal through a monitor which is a part of the stage set, cleverly designed Peter Herman and Zachary Grace.

The students in the class each bring their own set of emotional issues into the classroom, and thanks to Mr. Allen's dedication and skill, a community is assembled. I was particularly impressed by the skills of Taylor Rey, Daniel Delaney and Grace Marks. Hopefully we will see more of their work in future theatrical productions.

As the first act moves along, we still are uncertain where the play is heading, but after a couple of emotional outbursts, we know we are headed to a darker place. In this classroom it is not all "fun and games." My reticence to share too much of the plot is mandated by my philosophy not to share so much of the plot so as to diminish the elements of surprise and discovery for prospective audience members. I hope to whet your theatrical appetites and make reservations immediately!

The first "twitches" manifest themselves at the end of the first act. Over the course of the second act we painfully watch the students suffer with their afflictions. Kudos to Director Marks for his ability to train his actors so well to stay in character with the addition of a physical disability. More impressive is his use of the entire acting area to move the actors in ways to share their varying, often violent emotions with the entire audience.

I was most deeply moved by one encounter in the first act, and two equally emotionally fraught encounters in the second act. The first act encounter is between Mr. Holloway and Ms Rey. It is unexpected and tense. The second act scene between Ms. Mazdra and Ms. Rey, at the start of the act is cleverly written and convincingly acted. The last and most impressive altercation is one between Ms. Mazdra and Mr. Holloway. The manner in which Mr. Ross staged the encounters, the spontaneity of the actors' performances, the natural and easy way of Ms. Lanasa's dialogue make for impressive and expressive theatre.

The "coda" of the play is a surprise of sorts and revelatory. The surprise element is nothing I saw coming and was a "splash of cold water." I left the theatre with so much to contemplate and with a sense of gratitude that our community boasts such talent in its midst.

I encourage you to take advantage to see a world premiere run of a play which I believe has big things in store for it.

Brava Ceil Herman for your vision in producing such a thought-provoking work. Brava Amy Lanasa for an amazing script. Bravo Ross Marks for your exceptional direction. And, last but not least, Bravi to a dedicated, remarkable ensemble cast.

Performances of "Twitch" run through Sunday, March 17. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sunday Matinees on March 3, 10 and 17 at 2:30 p.m. and a Thursday evening performance on March 14 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 regular admission, $9.00 students and seniors over 65, and all tickets on Thursday are $7.00. To make reservations, call (575) 523-1223.

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