Preview by Laurel Humes of Extremities: Incline Theater
“You will be on the edge of your seat.”
That’s a promise from director Tim Perrino as he prepares to stage Extremities, opening Sept. 30 at the still very new Warsaw Federal Incline Theater in the Incline District, East Price Hill. It is the first show in the theater’s District Series.
But Perrino also wants his loyal audience to understand that this season is different from Landmark Productions’ mostly lighter fare at the Covedale Center and the Incline’s opening summer season of musicals.
Extremities is about rape and vengeance.
“I wanted people to know what the season would be like,” Perrino said about his choice for the opening show. “I want them to know this is very different.”
Extremities will be followed by shows with equally hard-hitting themes, what Perrino calls “great-name shows”: Rent, Avenue Q and Glengarry Glen Ross.
“This season will be challenging for some people who put us in a particular box,” Perrino said. “But it makes sense to not put in a season opposite Covedale’s,” comprised of comedies and musicals. “Why should we compete against ourselves?”
In Extremities, a woman is attacked in her home by a would-be rapist. She manages to turn the tables on him, imprisoning him in her fireplace. But when her housemates come home to find the assailant bound and blinded, tensions rise to a raging fever pitch. Should the attacker pay with his life or not?
The play was first staged off-Broadway 1982, where it starred Susan Sarandon and then Farrah Fawcett, who went on to reprise her role in the 1986 movie. Unfortunately, Perrino said, the storyline is not dated and still rings true.
“Time and time again, you keep seeing news stories that reinforce how true and timely the issues raised in the play are,” he said. “It’s still, unfortunately, a difficult and true story.”
Among the issues that will have audience members talking is a society – and even rape victims themselves – who blame the victim for the crime. Then there’s the moral conundrum that dates back to the biblical lesson of an eye for an eye.
Perrino has worked before with the two lead actors, Will Reed and Eileen Earnest, at the Covedale Center. These dramatic roles are much different and their performances are a “revelation,” he said.
“Eileen finds the places where she is stoic, and makes you understand how she feels when the sword comes into her hands,” he said.
Extremities runs Sept. 30-Oct. 18. Call for tickets at 513-241-6550.