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In “Crooked,” a 14 Year Old with a Twisted Back Embarks on a Hilarious Spiritual and Sexual Journey


Skydive Productions and Common Ground Theatre, in conjunction with the Ladies of Triangle Theatre, will present Crooked on Nov. 13-15 as part of Common Ground Theatre’s “Small Series.” Athens, GA-born Hays, KS playwright Catherine Trieschmann’s 2008 Off-Broadway dramatic comedy will be directed and designed by Jules Odendahl-James and Amanda Hahn, with design assistance from Sonya Drum.

“I was actually asked by the producers to direct the show,” says Jules Odendahl-James. “It had been selected by a young producing intern with Common Ground Theatre, Ana Radulescu, who has been a participant in One Song Productions during her time at East Chapel Hill High School. She and a classmate had done a scene study from the show while in high school, and she wanted it to be the inaugural production under her own production company: Skydive Productions.”

She adds, “Ana did not want to direct, perform, and produce, so she and [CGT executive director] Devra [Thomas] talked and invited me to read the show and shepherd the production with a couple of other very capable and seasoned hands in the Triangle theater community: Amanda Hahn and Sonya Drum.”

When the curtain rises on Crooked, says Jules Odendahl-James, “Elise and her 14-year-old daughter, Laney, have moved back to the home of William Faulkner, Oxford, MS. They have left behind Laney’s mentally ill father, now institutionalized. The stress of this dislocation has affected each [of them] in a different way. Elise, a former social worker, is unemployed and spars daily with the aspiring writer, Laney, who has taken the stress of the situation into her body and now suffers from dystonia.

“At school,” Odendahl-James adds, “Laney makes friends with Mirabel, a 16-year-old daughter of a Holiness church preacher (and used car salesman). The two form a fast bond, based on their outsider status; but each wants something very different from their relationship. As their dependence on each other grows, how long before these different desires pulls them apart?”

Amanda Hahn notes, “[Age] 14 is hard enough, but adding to that a new town, new school, new house, and new family, and we have a ticking time bomb in the middle of Oxford, MS. As a teenage Laney struggles with her identity in unfamiliar territory, her mom retreats to the comfort of home to face her new life with a slightly wavering resolve.

“In 90 minutes,” says Hahn, “we see the walls that surround these characters build higher and higher until they can no longer support the weight of the world and come crashing fantastically down.”

The cast for "Crooked" includes (from left) Amber Wood, Ana Radulescu, and Leigha Vilen (photo by Common Ground Theatre)

The cast for Skydive Productions and Common Ground Theatre’s production of “Crooked” includes (from left) Amber Wood, Ana Radulescu, and Leigha Vilen (photo by Common Ground Theatre)

Jules Odendahl-James adds, “The script and two of the three actors were already cast before I came aboard. This is also a show with a spare budget, as inaugural shows of new companies tend to be. These constraints have made us work smart as well as hard.

“The play’s action (12 scenes with no intermission) is fluid,” she says. “There is a unit set that facilitates this fluid movement across time and space. In this effort, the company has been blessed with artists who have donated their vision, time, and skills without reservation.”

Skydive Productions and Common Ground Theatre, in conjunction with Ladies of Triangle Theatre, present CROOKED at 8 p.m. Nov. 13-15 at at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd., Durham, North Carolina 27705, presented as part of Common Ground Theatre’s “Small Series.”

TICKETS: $14 ($10 students).

BOX OFFICE: 919-384-7817 or

SHOW: and


Skydive Productions:

Common Ground Theatre:,, and

Ladies of Triangle Theatre:

VENUE:,, and


Crooked (2008 Off-Broadway dramatic comedy): (Samuel French). Script: (Google Books).

Catherine Trieschmann (Athens, GA-born Hays, KS playwright): (Samuel French), (Facebook page), and (Twitter page).

Jules Odendahl-James (director/designer): (Facebook page) and (Twitter page).

Amanda Hahn (director/designer): (Facebook page).


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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Categorised in: Features, Theatre Feature