Talented “Tree”

49895835_10205967571145987_2562529139793854464_n.jpgREVIEW by Francesca Mevs

Treehouse of Dreams by Max Berry

Six months after best friends Winston and Scout sleep together on prom night, they are forced to return to their small Ohio town to mourn the death of their third best friend (and Scout’s boyfriend), Mark. Still unable to come clean about their relationship, Scout and Winston struggle with unresolved feelings, grief, and the vastness of their future.

Treehouse of Dreams by Max Berry
Directed by Brooke Viegut
Rachel Schmeling as Winsten
Emily Sullivan as Scout
Benjamin Cardona as Mark

Stage Manager: Lauren Nicole Jackson
Intimacy Direction: Mike Magglioca
Scenic Design: Brice Croder
Costume Design: Emma Glick

Produced by Brice Croder
Co-Produced by Brooke Viegut

This twist on a commonly-done love story, featured two women instead of the usual heterosexual tale. Rachel Schmeling as Winsten and Emily Sullivan as Scout did a great job carrying the story and bringing the audience into their relationship and their world.

Sullivan maintained a sense of realism – engaging the audience through the dramatic moments beautifully. The character’s emotions built well, and one could connect to her pain. Sullivan’s dedication to the character covered for a few hiccups in continuity within this powerful script.

Schmeling, equally engaging, physically gave us the masculinity of the character without it seeming forced. Both actresses allowed for their natural abilities to shine through while complementing their ‘other half.”

49947013_10205967570585973_7593069521502470144_n.jpgThe male addition to the cast, Benjamin Cardona as Mark, also provided excellent chemistry with his female co-stars. His performance, however, was a bit heavy handed. As a specter returning later in the play, he seemed quite fit, but the “living portion” seemed a bit overdone.

49800273_10205967570345967_223384465995464704_n.jpgThe “treehouse” set was beautifully made. The elaborate construction was complemented by a look as if it was decorated by children. So, elaborate but simple best applies to it.  The austere festival budget made its necessary for sparse tech including making the treehouse more omnipresent than it should have been.

Max Berry’s script, as mentioned, was well-done and totally engaging … but short. Again, the constraints of festivals may have caused this streamlining so – if given the chance – he should find an opportunity to present this fascinating work again in a longer, more fleshed production.

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