L to R: Megan Thompson and Patrick Payne
L to R: Dusty Payne and Patrick Payne
L To R: Megan Thompson and Dusty Payne
L to R: Megan Thompson and Dusty Payne
L to R: Dusty Payne, Megan Thompson, and Patrick Payne
Jun 28-Jul 07, 2002
'Gray' will get your gray matter working
- By Cheryl Thornburg, Sun News [Friday, June 28 2002, C-3]
Tom's Smith's new play, "Gray" is a bright spot on the theater scene. His characters are unique, yet universal.
The world premiere of the play at the Black Box Theatre last week gave Las Crucens the chance to witness history.
The play centers around three people with different approaches to life who will never be the same after their encounter. Matt and Laura have been a couple for four years, although they do not live together.
She is a sophisticated self-assured young woman whose job looks to the future, predicting fashion trends. He teaches history and likes his stable, comfortable life.
Enter Pack, a charismatic, streetwise 16-year old who turns that world upside down. Pack first meets Laura when she ventures into his neighborhood in a bad part of town to do research for her job. Matt, concerned for her safety, follows her, and incurs her wrath for doing so.
He also, however, finds himself drawn to this sometimes brash, sometimes vulnerable young man, which sends Matt into some real soul searching.
Patrick Payne plays Matt. He sometimes seems confused, uncertain -- but in this case, that's GOOD because his character Matt is just that -- confused about his feelings for Pack, because he has never experienced such attractions before. Payne seems to thrive on complex roles, the more multi-faceted the character, the more he likes it.
Megan Thompson's composure, posture and body language create a Laura that is believable and sympathetic.
There is a playful chemistry between her and Patrick Payne, giving credence to their relationship.
Dusty Payne (no relation to Patrick) plays Pack, perhaps the most complicated character in the play.
He lives in the moment, manipulating others with his tales, till even he is not sure what is fiction and what is reality.
Dusty Payne's Pack can seem vulnerable or tough, evoking sympathy and skepticism from his fellow characters and challenging the audience to discover what he's all about.
There are twists and turns as the characters interact and some scenes are out of chronological order, which keeps the audience guessing and intrigued.
Director Ceil Herman enjoys challenging material and bringing it to life. Her casting decisions are calculated to do just that and as usual she's right on with "Gray."
"Gray" also has a stylish look thanks to the lighting design by Peter Herman.
From carefully chosen colored spotlights to dramatic projected cityscapes, he's obviously had fun working on this production.
Smith's play can be enjoyed on many levels. It's basic story and themes are interesting -- just what is the nature of attraction? What if someone suddenly finds themselves attracted to someone of the same gender? Does that automatically mean that they are homosexual or even bisexual?
But there's even more -- "Gray" makes you think about your approach to life -- are you resistant to change? Are you entrenched in the past, the status quo? Are you missing out by not taking chances? Different questions may arise for different people.
"Gray" is thought-provoking, and that makes for good theater. The play includes adult themes and may not be suitable for all audiences and is not suitable for children.
"Gray" runs through July 7. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 7 at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $6 for senior citizens and students. For reservations call the Black Box Theatre at (505) 523-1223
No seating plan has been posted.