A. Rey Pamatmat’s “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” Teaches Important Lessons in Tolerance

Wanda Jin plays the title role in "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them"
Wanda Jin plays the title role in "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them"

Wanda Jin plays the title role in "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them"
Wanda Jin plays the title role in "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them"

The regional premiere of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, written by Filipino-American playwright A. Rey Pamatmat and jointly presented Dec. 1-17 by Manbites Dog Theater and the Duke University Department of Theater Studies, is an offbeat coming-of-age story about the plucky 12-year-old title character (played by Wanda Jin), her resourceful 16-year-old brother Kenny (Andy Chu), and Kenny’s somewhat geeky 16-year-old boyfriend Benji (Jacob W. Tobia).

After their Filipina mother dies and their father finds a new girlfriend who monopolizes his every waking moment and wants to live somewhere else sans famille, Kenny and Edith are left alone in the family home to fend for themselves. Their dad rarely visits them; but as long as he makes monthly deposits to their banking account, Edith and Kenny can survive. They lean self-reliance and develop of stubborn independent streak that inspires Edith to pick up an air rifle and patrol the perimeter, in search of intruders to pepper with air-rifle pellets.

Duke students Wanda Jin, Andy Chu, and Jacob Tobia make indelible impressions as a preteen and two teenagers testing the limits of their freedom while the boys explore their sexuality, much to the consternation of Benji’s homophobic mother. Jin’s perky portrayal of Edith, Chu’s soulful portrait of Kenny, and Tobia’s twitchy impersonation of the nerdy Benji are three crowd-pleasing performances.

Manbites Dog artistic director and Duke Theater Studies faculty member Jeff Storer elicits exceptional performances from his young and talented cast, and set and costume designer Derrick Ivey superbly creates the various locales where the play’s events take place. Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them has many moments of merriment, but playwright Rey Pamatmat never neglects its serious underlying themes, which teach important lessons in tolerance.

SECOND OPINION: Dec. 8th Raleigh, NC News & Observer review by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/12/08/1696373/play-puts-vulnerable-siblings.html; Dec. 7th Durham, NC Independent Weekly review by Kate Dobbs Ariail (who awarded the show 4.5 of 5 stars): http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/edith-can-shoot-things-and-hit-them-at-manbites-dog/Content?oid=2720018; and Dec. 5th Raleigh, NC CVNC review by Spencer Powell: http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=5227. (Note: To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Dec. 1st Triangle Theater Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2011/12/edith-can-shoot-things-and-hit-them-is-an-offbeat-coming-of-age-comedy-by-a-rey-pamatmat/.)

Manbites Dog Theater and the Duke University Department of Theater Studies present EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 8-10, 3:15 p.m. Dec. 11, and 8:15 p.m. Dec. 14-17 at Manbites Dog Theater, 703 Foster St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $12 weeknights and $17 Friday-Saturday, except $5 Student Rush Tickets and $2 discount for seniors 62+ and active-duty military personnel.

BOX OFFICE: 919/682-3343 or http://manbitesdogtheater.tix.com/Schedule.asp?OrganizationNumber=150&SortOrder=Act.

SHOW: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/384/.

PRESENTERS:

Manbites Dog Theater: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/.

Duke University Department of Theater Studies: http://theaterstudies.duke.edu/.

VENUE: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/5/.

OTHER LINKS:

The Playwright: http://areypamatmat.wordpress.com./ (official website) and http://playreyplay.blogspot.com/ (his blog).

The Director: http://theaterstudies.duke.edu/people?Gurl=/aas/TheaterStudies&Uil=bear&subpage=profile (Duke theater Studies).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).

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