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Thursday, 16 February 2012 22:30

Good play for good reasons!

Written by Shahnaz Ahmed
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I would say that Bad Things for Good Reasons is a play that we need to not just watch, but experience. Set in a small Ozark town, the play is about those characters whose stories seem surreal as they unwind. Are we judgmental of those around us that aren't so like us? And what if they opened up and you got a glimpse of their world?

There are many reasons to go watch this play. I'll start of by saying that the play was written by regional playwright Jim Greer. I understand that the play was workshopped a couple of times through a reading at St. Louis Writer's group. I feel this is home grown and deserves our support. The Dramaturge for this play is KDHX's own Dennis Corcoran.

I'm not going in any particular order here, but I feel another reason to go watch this play is the superb acting. Ed Cohoon, a Meramec alumni plays Al Peroni, the central character in the play. His acting was brilliant. Ed brought such realism to the stage that I personally felt threatened by his presence. When Al Peroni gets unpredictable, I felt uncomfortable in my own seat. I wanted to say, "I'm just a reviewer, leave me out of this," and then I realized that I was just watching a play and Al Peroni was nothing more than a fictional character. Ed's vivid and accurate gestures hit home.

My other two favorite actors in this play were the women. Monica Zidaru (as Lisa) and Haley Kemper (as Valerie), both Meramec students, shone brightly on stage. There was no doubt as to their character and it was very easy to empathize with them. The cat fight on stage between the two women was very well choreographed and performed. I have seen Jim Greer's work before and I remember thinking the cat fight might be a trademark of his. The other actors were Mark Zoole playing Billy and Andrew Bayer playing Mark.

I have already given a few reasons to watch this play. If that doesn't suffice then go watch this play for the set. This set was so rustic and well put together, it's something to go see. Down stage right is an open broken down refrigerator, several broken down auto parts in a pile. Up stage right to center is a timber shack with a propane tank propped under the porch, antlers on the porch rail, kudzu, a form of dried ivy velveting the walls of the shack, and an old rocking chair. There was even an old Ford truck up stage center to left. Down stage left was the rear seat of an automobile with seat belts, propped on two logs, a fire pit with cinder block and rock, an apple crate, and old folding vinyl chair that looked like it was coming apart. Up stage there was a fence with a couple of deer hide on it. Chuck Winning, did an excellent job on set design and being the scenic artist. A++.

This play is directed by Keith Oliver who has commanded excellence. He was able to elevate the actors to bring the characters to life. Having Al Peroni scratch himself, eat out of the pan, and swat the imaginary flies was a great touch of realism. This play is good to the proverbial last drop - curtain call. Unique and effective. Very nice directorial flair.

Costumes was well done by Kolten Frey. Valerie's costumes were quite remarkable in exemplifying her character. Lights and sounds were adequate by Ryan Brooks and Hannah Nash.

If you think theatre should be an unique experience, then this play might be right up your alley. Be prepared to saturate your senses. Performances take place in the theatre on the campus at 11333 Big Bend Road. For more information, call 314-984-7500.

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