Monday, September 26, 2016
Today I am grateful for “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, a play being performed by stellar actors at Actors Net, The Heritage Center Theater, 630 N. Delaware Avenue, Morrisville, PA 19067. Phone 215-295-3694 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets. There, I got that out of the way! I had to get it all upfront because THIS is a show you don’t want to miss.
A friend of mine was part of the ensemble and another friend and co-founder of the theater, directed it. Wow. Just wow. The last play I saw at a different theater, suffered from a lack of direction. I can’t say that about this one. Joe Doyle, the director, is a pro. Every detail, every nuance, every necessary movement was well-timed and perfectly orchestrated.
The script is written with the first act laying a lot of groundwork. The actors would do well to be sure their voices are warmed up so that every word is heard. I had no trouble hearing them most of the time, but Himself, who wears hearing aids and admits to being spoiled by subtitles on TV and in the movies, had a difficult time. That’s it. That’s the only slight criticism I have for the entire show.
When I go to the theater, any live theater, I’m a stickler for the total package. I don’t want rock music playing in the lobby when a period piece is being done on stage. I don’t want costumes that look like they were purchased at the thrift store without any adjustments. I don’t want the set to only hint at time period or theme. I don’t want actors who are hesitant to go the distance, whether in a love scene or a conflict laced, tense, scene. I want it all. From the lobby/intermission music/sound; to the brilliantly designed costumes; to the perfect set; to the terrific acting; and the more than impressive directing, I got it all in this production.
When I asked my actor friend, who has been the lead in many productions if he was the star he said, “No, this is an ensemble piece.” Humble. But also true. I am not singling out any particular actors because each was fantastic in their own right. It was the assemblage of them reacting and interacting that made this play so special. Acting without obvious effort is the best. I forgot they were acting. All of them.
Never mind that I might have nightmares from the most ominous of the characters. . .this show was worth it and then some. If it is at all possible for you to attend, you better hurry and get your tickets because you only have one weekend left before “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” closes. Check out the rest of their season at www.actorsnetbucks.org.