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None Too Fragile featuring ‘well produced’ script

11/22/2012 - West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

MERRIMAN VALLEY — Love tip toes into a life at the most inconvenient moment. “How His Bride Came to Abraham” has the qualities of “Romeo and Juliet,” and the None Too Fragile Theater is staging the play through Dec. 8.

A man and a woman from opposite forces meet, tell their stories and discover love for each other. The question is, can two peace lovers end the war and bring serenity to their corner of the world in order to live happily ever after?

Abraham is a wounded Israeli soldier and Sabra is a female Palestinian terrorist. They meet in an Israeli occupied zone in southern Lebanon. With rifles and pistols at the ready, they talk about their lives and how each hates the other’s country and political force, and they fall in love.

They live out a pacifist drama in less than 24 hours. At the curtain call, many of the audience members were saying, “Wow!” This is a production of an excellent script, performed by two fine actors and directed by a first-rate director.

The None Too Fragile Theatre is offering this timely drama in its new space in Bricco’s Pub in the Valley, 1841 Merriman Road.

The playing area is filled with 6 tons of topsoil, to represent the desert, and upstage two large mountains of stones provide the little off-stage space.

Gabriel Riazi plays Abraham. Riazi has long been active in the Akron theater scene. He often appears in musicals and is a talented dancer. However, as Abraham, he is anchored in the desert, leaning against a boulder and attempting to save his own life. He makes Abraham’s frustrations surface — this wounded soldier is as macho as an Israeli soldier can be, and yet, he is, in truth, held captive by Sabra, who could kill him in a moment. 

Leighann Niles Delorenzo brings Sabra into the playing area with layer upon layer of interesting character traits. She’s a tough soldier-terrorist, capable of fighting and killing for her land and her family. Yet, she shows a vulnerability and warmth that makes Abraham fall in love with her. The audience knows when she threatens to kill Abraham with her pistol, she could kill him with little regret. However, she loves him, too.

If the voice of Gramma seems familiar, it is. Maureen Estelle Guerin-Johnson, who is playing Sophie in Coach House Theatre’s “Social Security,” recorded Gramma’s lines.

Director Sean Derry doesn’t shy away from the violence and the passion wedged in this encounter in the desert. Derry makes each scene visually perfect to the audience. He helps his cast modulate from violence to a tender kiss without a jarring pause.

“How His Bride Came to Abraham” is an excellent, well-produced script. The acting and directing are first rate.

For ticket information, call 330-671-4563.


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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