|Ben Gierhart as Cal and Daniel Land as Skylor in
Abraham Lincoln Was a Faggot.
Photo – Pandora Productions.
And that brings me to the co-directing by Michael J. Drury and Tim Kitchen, which I believe was missing something in the sense of characters’ physical and emotional motivations. Most of the time actors seemed to rush on stage, moving without purpose except to be in the “right spot” just in time for light changes or scene transitions. This makes the staging look weak and unmotivated. There’s one particular scene towards the end of the play where this is very obvious. In this scene, Susan, Carl’s mother, suddenly panics and decides her son won’t be reading his essay (there is a reason for this that I won’t reveal here.) Mrs. Delany portrays this moment with such conviction that the fear and desperation felt by any mother is palpable. The problem, however, lies in the fact that while the actress is emotionally committed and desires to get out of there as fast as possible, physically she can’t go anywhere because she’s surrounded by obstacles—actors on one-side, cubes on the other, and audience in the front. The audience can feel the character wants to get out of there, and we can also sense the actor feels that need, yet it doesn’t happen. Instead, the actor turns away from everyone while ordering her son to go with her. The character’s physical actions don’t match the character’s state of mind or emotions. This has nothing to do with character’s choice or motivation but rather, as powerful as this moment seems, it is also awkward because the scene lacks directorial understanding and drive.