Saturday, December 23, 2017

REMNANT • Mustard Seed Theatre

Mustard Seed open its 11th season with a revival of the theatre’s debut production, Ron Reed’s Remnant. It’s a post-apocalyptic Christmas story that takes place 75 years after a catastrophic plague has forced civilization to hit the restart button. Even the language is in tatters. The vestiges of families that remain fortify as clans, and arm themselves with weapons and guard dogs. Bikers are good to trade with, but not much else, and loners are to be avoided at all costs. Mustard Seed’s production explores the core Holiday sentiment through the eyes of the Wilkin clan, who have decided to celebrate “Christ Mass” for the first time in memory.

Kristn Taler (Michelle Hand),
Barlow Sho’r (Ryan Lawson-Maeske)
and Delmar (Marissa Grice).
Photo credit: John Lamb
With makeshift presents and only shreds of knowledge left over from the “old ones”, Barlow (Ryan Lawson-Maeske), his wife Delmar (Marissa Grice), his sister Annagail (Katy Keating) and cousin Kristn (Michelle Hand) come together to celebrate Christmas. Encircled by the audience on three sides, Kristin Cassidy’s scenic design and Meg Brinkley’s props of "the time before” residuals -- old televisions, film canisters, candles, an old generator and Christmas lights are beautifully set. It gives a sense of a civilization that relies on combing through what’s left of the world, thanks also to Jane Sullivan’s costume design and Zoe Sullivan’s sound design of arid landscapes and dogs, all adding to the dystopia.

Barlow Sho’r (Ryan Lawson-Maeske),
Annagail Booker (Katy Keating)
and Delmar (Marissa Grice).
Photo credit: John Lamb
Once everyone arrives and settles in, including a loner (Adam Flores), who’s hidden from the Wilkins, Kristn highlights the gathering with descriptions of "the three bornings”, slipping a ceremonial wrapping around her neck for the cherished telling. When the loner is discovered, Barlow sees an interloper’s presence as a sacrilege to the ceremony, while others see the loner’s presence as an opportunity for education and acceptance. It’s an age-old tale, but the surroundings the story is couched in gives it a freshness that’s well suited for the season.

Lawson-Maeske’s erratic temper as Barlow provides the foil for the lesson, and Keating’s optimistic sister, Grice’s tentatively open Delmar and Hand’s sage Kristn come together for a nice counter-balance. As the loner, Flores shows just enough menace to make him unpredictable, but winningly open and honest.

It’s got one more performance! Check it out before it’s gone.

• Annagail's jacket has a "JC" on it. Nice.


Loner (Adam Flores)
and Barlow Sho’r (Ryan Lawson-Maeske).
Photo credit: John Lamb
Written by Ron Reed
Directed by Deanna Jent
Mustard Seed Theatre, 6800 Wydown Blvd.
through December 23 | tickets: $15 - $35
Performances Tonight at 8pm

Barlow Sho’r: Ryan Lawson-Maeske
Delmar Nu1: Marissa Grice
Annagail Booker: Katy Keating  
Kristn Taler: Michelle Hand
Loner: Adam Flores

Kristn Taler (Michelle Hand),
Barlow Sho’r (Ryan Lawson-Maeske)
and Delmar (Marissa Grice).
Photo credit: John Lamb
Lighting Design: Michael Sullivan
Sound Design: Zoe Sullivan
Scenic Designer: Kristin Cassidy
Props Master: Meg Brinkley
Costume Designer: Jane Sullivan
Assistant Costume Designer: Lindzey Jent
Technical Director: Jon Hisaw
Assistant Technical Director: Tom Stevenson
Executive Director: Bess Moynihan
Production Stage Manager: Traci Clapper
Assistant Stage Manager: Chelsea Krenning
Performing Arts Liaison: Morgan Fisher
Assistant Master Electrician: Justin Chaipet
Stage Management Assistants: Ariella Rovinsky and Merlin Bell

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