Review by Kat Reynolds
Clifton Players, Cincinnati Artists Theatre, and Creative Asylum are putting on a heck of a show at Liberty Exhibition Hall and you won’t want to miss it! “Ages of The Moon” by Sam Shepard tells us the story of Ames (Michael Shooner) and Byron (Daniel Britt), two men who have been friends for going on 50 years, but have lost regular touch as humans are want to do. Reunited in a fit of “mutual desperation,” they porch-sit one day to talk, reflect, and drink about the years that have passed them by. And the moon, you ask? Perhaps it is the promise of a total lunar eclipse that heightens the waves of emotions through which both the characters and the audience are taken.
Directors Michael Burnham and Kevin Crowley astutely stage the show which takes place entirely on Ames’ front porch/yard and could easily fall static. Even when the characters remain seated for a time as the conversation (and bourbon) flow, the veteran actors naturally keep the pacing strong with an occasional slapping at mosquitoes, pouring of a drink, or re-enactments of times past. The script is punctuated by several more actively mobile moments which further engage the audience and provide moments of natural interruption and reset of the characters’ conversation before moving on to another topic of discussion. Tech Direction by Buz Davis is to be commended as the set is simple, yet effective and the lighting choices are thoughtful.
Both actors are solid in their character choices and each experience a roller coaster of emotions, but for very different reasons. The preeminent moments from Mr. Britt in particular left this critic and her partner both laughing out loud and clutching each others’ hands for comfort.
For those who have had the privilege and sometimes burden of a friendship that has lasted for several decades, we know it isn’t all fishing and bourbon. Relationships between imperfect human beings are complicated and leave us feeling many different things – and a hot August day of drinking and opening old wounds while waiting until the wee hours for a lunar eclipse can make you relive every one of those sentiments all over again.
“Ages of The Moon” runs through August 22nd. Shows are Friday – Sunday. Total show run time is approximately an hour with no intermission. For tickets, please visit HERE.
Katrina “Kat” Reynolds is a local performing artist and directress. She has served as the copy editor for Rob Bucher’s Behind The Curtain Cincinnati. Her company, Harley Quinn Studios, produces old-timey radio show content and provides the place “where the voices in your head come to play.”