Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review - World Premiere of A Sudden Spontaneous Event, by David Lee Nelson

Last night, I hung out with one of my besties and did the art walk through several of the fabulous galleries in Charleston. We stopped by the Brown Dog Deli for a quick bite before heading over to Pure Theater for the world premier of A Sudden Spontaneous Event, written by David Lee Nelson. I indulged in a delightful Wacky Jackie Salad made with a combination of roasted corn, onion, cucumber, sprouts and goat cheese over a bed of mixed greens. Instead of the black bean cake that often comes with it, I ordered chicken instead. It was lovely. Not too much, not too little, but just a taste of tender white chicken with each bite. A slight dollop of guacamole added a nice touch to the salad, as did sides of salsa acting as dressing. My friend got a tasty Chicago Dog with a root beer served perfectly chilled in a glass bottle. After filling our bellies with healthy treats, we headed over to see the well publicized play that centers around a "hilarious and heartbreaking look at what happens when the life you thought you were leading is over in an instant."

We arrived just in time to this comfortable theater located at 477 King Street and settled into our seats. The theater is nicely arranged, with seating allowing a perfect view of the stage from any angle. The theater was jam packed, and we were full of anticipation for the opening act. As the lights dimmed, the theater quietened with everyone's gaze focused on the characters on stage. As we had no idea what to expect, what happened was indeed surprising. Co-owner of the theater and resident Director, Sharon Graci, opened the show by introducing the event and the playwright, stating, "You'll learn a lot about David Lee Nelson tonight. He writes from the heart, and you'll find tonight to be eye-opening."

Without giving away too much about what the play is actually about, suffice it to say that the main character wakes up in some type of waiting room. Confused, she is trying to figure out her whereabouts as a man waltzes in with a mohawk, sporting large tattoos, and bearing an English accent. Our first thoughts are that she's found herself awakening in a psych ward, and she's waiting for an appointment with someone referred to frequently as "her".

As the scene develops, what happens next is completely unexpected. It expounds hysterically and grabs the audience directly into the storyline. Questions are thrown around in an interview style. "How did you hear about us?" "Rate your life experience from 1-10." "Are you sure you want to rate it a 7?"

The questions are leading Carole to a self-reckoning which forces her to acknowledge areas of her life that have been challenging, making her and the audience increasingly uncomfortable as she strips off layer after layer of thick skin she has developed to protect herself from her poor decisions. After bearing her soul, the scene ends only to continue into a twisted and fateful plot that focuses on love, relationships, forgiveness, and even death.

As is common with many of Pure Theatre's productions, "A Sudden and Spontaneous Event" doesn't shy away from exposing harsh realities and exploiting emotions that we may all relate to. Dating, one night stands, the benefits of having certain friends, or being broken due to familial heartbreak are just a few of the themes that are explored. Learning how to forgive one's self before being able to ask for forgiveness from others is probably the hardest, yet most important, aspect of many of our lives. The play delves into the deepest parts of our souls and creates an intimacy with the actors that touches our psyche as well as the characters'.

Ending on a strong emotional note, the play concludes with hope for the future for two lovers who have endured more than they should have.

Cast Credits are as follows:

Liz Coralli - Carrie
Michael Smallwood - George
Brannen Daughtery - Stan
Scott Smith-Pattinson - Wilfred
Joy Vandervort-Cobb - Carole

Developed by the PURE Lab.

Time & Place

A waiting room. A bar. A house.

Tickets are $27-$30 plus fees online, and the event runs through March 26th.

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