Coming-of-age stories or the “bildungsroman” are known for being brutally honest and intense. PlayMakers Repertory Company’s second stage series production of Spring Training is as honest and intense as a fan of the genre might expect, but it is not without its flaws.
The show features four artists presenting song and movement, interspersed with telling dramatic monologues that focus on what it means to be a minority in America, both in the changing currents of the past and in today’s not-so-different-as-one-might-expect world. The monologues are centered upon hispanic Ricky, young and innocent Trevor, Miss Geneva Maybell Martin, and a young hispanic girl who has lost her mother to murder. All of these characters, as the story shows, have been through life at its hardest and have lived to tell about it. While the monologues are filled with beautiful imagery—think a brown paper bag communion—poetic language, and hauntingly detailed place settings, the presentation itself falls disappointingly short.
All of the perfomers are on-book, a fact that could be understood and even overlooked if it didn’t cause noticeable stumbling and cast-confusion throughout. Furthermore, the performance’s symoblic moments, which have the potential to be poignant, would have hit harder if they weren’t so hammered in towards the end.
All of this is not to say, however, that the production doesn’t have merit. One gets the feeling that with a little more effort, the performers could have delivered a powerful message about the current state of our country, its educational system, and how we deal with one another in general. Speaking more positively, however, the artists do incorporate their entire bodies into the production. Clapping hands turn into the baking of goods that one character references, and seamless transitions abound throughout. Though beautifully written, Universes’ Spring Training has a way to go before it can have the impact on viewers that the writing demands.
PlayMakers Repertory Company presents SPRING TRAINING, a world premiere by Universes at 7:30 p.m. April 27 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 28 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, 120 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
TICKETS: $15-$40 ($10 UNC students and $12 other students).
BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY or http://www.playmakersrep.org/tickets/.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-843-2311, firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.playmakersrep.org/tickets/groupsales.aspx.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aZWKbKXhZoo.
NEWS RELEASE: http://uncnews.unc.edu/content/view/5979/66/.
PlayMakers Repertory Company: http://www.playmakersrep.org/.
Carolina Performing Arts: https://www.carolinaperformingarts.org/.
BLOG (PlayMakersPage to Stage): http://playmakersrep.blogspot.com/.
Spring Training (play): http://www.universesonstage.com/page11/page49/index.html (official web page).
Universes (poet-performers): http://www.universesonstage.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universes_%28poetic_theatre_ensemble%29 (Wikipedia).
Chay Yew (director): http://www.victorygardens.org/about/chayyewbio.php (Victory Gardens Theater bio) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chay_Yew (Wikipedia).
“The Rite of Spring at 100” https://www.theriteofspringat100.org/ (official website).