Does everything happen for a reason? Or do people just search for reasons to makes life seem less bleak? These are some of the big questions at the heart of Struck, an engaging new play, written by Sandy Rustin, onstage now through Theatre Raleigh’s Hot Summer Nights and under the direction of Gina Rattan.
The story, which focuses on a kindhearted Jewish New Yorker named Vera (Emily Kron), her husband Nate (Sid Solomon), and their new-agey neighbor Vicky (Melissa Macleod), is immediately funny and engaging. Playing out on a well-designed ritzy New York apartment set, the production opens immediately following an incident in which Vera has been accidentally struck by a young biker named James (Liam Yates). Vera finds herself slightly intrigued by her accidental assailant and, despite her husband’s pragmatic approach, yearns for a connection with him, one that will better explain their chance encounter.
As the show unravels into a surprising second act, however, it becomes clear that things other than chance are at play in their encounter. The funny play turns abruptly into something tense and powerful, leaving audiences a bit shell-shocked, but in a good, thought-provoking kind of way. In fact, “thought-provoking” is perhaps the best descriptor for this fast moving production, which clocks in at around ninety minutes, with each one engaging.
Rustin has written a script that, while funny on the surface, causes viewers to think deeply about these characters, their motivations, and about their approaches to life and its happenings. These are characters that will cause viewers to turn the mirror upon their own selves and their own lives to ask these same questions, which is indeed the mark of powerful theatre.
The cast handles Rustin’s multi-layered script and complex characters with ease. Kron makes for a Vera who is likeable despite her many imperfections, while Solomon’s solemn portrayal of his character serves as a nice counterbalance to Vera’s freneticism. Macleod steals the show with her southern, spunky portrayal of Vicky, and Yates is stoic and methodical in his portrayal of James. Director Gina Rattan seems to have taken a gritty approach to her directing, allowing the characters to live and move onstage in a way that rings very true to life and that complements Rustin’s true to life script and dialogue.
All in all, Struck is something that is becoming all too rare in today’s theatrical scene- a non-gimmicky play backed by a strong script that will leave viewers pondering its themes in the days to come. This, as well as the fact that it’s just plain good are definite reasons to see this show before it ends its run on July 2nd.
Theatre Raleigh presents STRUCK at 8 p.m. June 22 and 23, 2 and 8 p.m. June 24, 3 p.m. June 2, 8 p.m. June 28-30, 2 and 8 p.m. July 1, and 3 p.m. July 2 in the in the Sara Lynn and K.D. Kennedy, Jr. Theatre in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $30 ($28 students, seniors 65+, and active-duty military personnel).
BOX OFFICE: 919-832-9997, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://theatreraleigh.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0S610000035dTeEAI.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-832-9997 or email@example.com.
SHOW: https://theatreraleigh.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0S610000035dTeEAI and http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/event/struck-theatre-raleigh-s-hot-summer-nights-series-private-event-8122.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://vimeo.com/222517158. 2017 SEASON: http://www.theatreraleigh.com/2017-season/.
PRESENTER: http://www.theatreraleigh.com/, https://www.facebook.com/TheatreRaleigh/, and https://twitter.com/TheatreRaleigh.
Struck (2016 NJ REP play): http://sandyrustin.com/writing/ (official web page).
Sandy Rustin (New York City actress, playwright, and screenwriter): http://sandyrustin.com/ (official website), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/10687 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1740407/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/sandy.r.fleischer (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/sandyrustin (Twitter page).
Gina Rattan (New York City director): http://ginarattan.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/gina-rattan-494047 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6745829/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/gina.rattan (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/rattanica (Twitter page).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.