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Weathervane’s ‘Shooting Star’ ‘excellent one-act play’

11/1/2012 - West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

Laura Stitt is Elena Carson in Weathervane Playhouse’s “Shooting Star.”
Photo courtesy of Weathervane Playhouse
MERRIMAN VALLEY — Weathervane Playhouse is staging “Shooting Star,” by Steven Dietz, in the John L. Dietz Theater through Nov. 10. (According to a member of the Weathervane staff, Steven Dietz is not related to the family of John L. Dietz.)

“Shooting Star” is set in 2006 in a large Midwestern airport. Reed McAllister (Michael Gaffney) and Elena Carson (Laura Stitt) were once college sweethearts, but they haven’t seen each other in 25 years. They meet in a snowbound airport as flight after flight is canceled and they are left stranded. Through confusion and misunderstanding, they ended the relationship and have not seen each other since.

They talk hungrily, as if each is starved for information about the other. As they talk, they reveal how Reed has changed and Elena has managed to remain the same. They discuss professional successes and personal failures. Could they possibly put their relationship back together?

Dietz, who wrote the script in 2008 for a commission by the Denver Theatre Center Theatre Company, created the script with an intriguing structure. Each character at various times in the production steps forward to talk directly to the audience and then resumes playing the scene with his/her scene mate.

“Shooting Star” has a two-person cast, and neither leaves the playing area during the performance.

Stitt captures the free spirit and style of the aging “hippie chick.” She crawls on the floor to avoid meeting Reed. She tells impossible lies in order to maintain Elena’s façade of Reed’s youthful playmate.

Gaffney makes Reed a grown-up businessman in a hurry to the next meeting. He is straight-laced in a suit, tie and briefcase. Reed struggles to maintain a marriage that has disintegrated, leaving him stranded emotionally.

Director Rohn Thomas helped the actors establish characters capable of the emotional dissonance necessary for this script. Thomas provides a variety in rate of delivery of lines and in volume.

In “Shooting Star,” the sun does crawl over the eastern horizon, the snow has been plowed away and airplanes begin to carry passengers to their destinations. Elena and Reed, too, move forward to new destinations and new lives.

“Shooting Star” is an excellent one-act play, which runs about 75 minutes, without an intermission. 

For ticket information, call 330-836-2626.

 

David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

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