Allan Maule’s Framing the Shot Scores a Bull’s-Eye for Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio

Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio scores a bull’s-eye with local playwright Allan Maule’s Framing the Shot, directed by Ira David Wood IV. Photography buffs will recognize the term “framing the shot.” Laypersons (such as ourselves), however, might wonder, “What kind of shot?” Doctors give shots. Bar-tenders pour shots. Photographers, pool-sharks, archers, and marksmen take shots. Suffice it to say: this show includes a camera, some guns, and some tequila; and, yes, there is a twist (or two … or three)!

Nicola is a photographer. Terri, her zany neighbor, is a self-employed glass-worker. Lance, it would seem, is an “enforcer” for “the mob.” Terri has had a near-death experience. When will a shot be taken, given, or poured? Who will “frame” it? And how?

Allan Maule’s script is a feast of clever, witty dialogue. Friday’s opening-night audience reveled in such lines as “I know a guy who robbed a guy who shot a guy,” “I owe you a roll [of toilet paper],” “lime — like a green lemon,” and “you shut your mouth when you’re talking to me.” And this cast delivers them with aplomb!

Michelle Murray Wells plays the all-business Nicola who is polite to Terri but would clearly rather not be bothered. Wells deftly clues the audience in while Nicola keeps Terri clueless. As Nicola starts her day with sit-ups and hard-driving music, Wells’ energy gave us kind of a “Rocky feeling.”

Patrick Whalen is amusing as Lance, “A Guy in a Suit.” Perfect for the role, Whalen conjures up plenty of comic New York “mob” nuances.

However, if there is a “gold medal” to be awarded to a cast member in this show, it must go to Lorelei Lemon in the role of the optimistic-but-oblivious Terri. Lemon’s delivery is spot-on. We had no problem believing that this character would mistake L’Chaim (the Hebrew toast) for lime — repeatedly — and that she would see no problem with the word “lime” being used in that context. And Lemon’s Terri is totally believable when she refers to her near-death experience as “the greatest day of my life.”

Set designer Vivian Chiang accurately captures a small Chicago apartment in which the tenant would use the bathroom as a darkroom, and Rachel McKay has costumed the characters appropriately. Lighting (designed by Anthony Buckner) and sound (designed by Shelley Snapp and Buckner) seamlessly augment the actors’ work.

We were impressed by a few random bits:

  • This is the first time that we have ever heard an assassin meditate on the subject of mortality.
  • Dramatist Allan Maule has firmly set this piece in the modern world by including “Alexa” (Amazon’s electronic device) as a “character.”

A quick shoutout to fight director Heather J. Strickland: “Well Done, Number One!” The comedic thrill and artistry of this sequence is well-worth the price of admission.

From the Department of Picky-Picky: Although the eighty-or-so minutes of runtime fits nicely into the one-act format, we would recommend that Sonorous Road consider adding an intermission. There is a “hiatus” in the play involving a trip to a Chicago Cubs game, and this would be a perfect opportunity to give audience members a “Seventh Inning Stretch.” And, who knows? Maybe some “ballpark concessions” would add to the enjoyment of the show.

Spoiler alert (from the Department of Very Picky-Picky): There is a gag involving a toilet seat which, if one were to think through how it must have arrived where it appears, is backwards.

Under Ira Wood’s direction, Allan Maule’s Framing the Shot at Sonorous Road is well worth seeing. It plays at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays through Sunday, March 25th.

The cast of <em>Framing the Shot</em> includes (clockwise, from top left) Lorelei Lemon, Michelle Murray Wells, and Patrick Whalen, plus director Ira David Wood IV (bottom left)
The cast for Framing the Shot (Female Edition) by Allan Maule includes (clockwise, from top left) Lorelei Lemon, Michelle Murray Wells, and Patrick Whalen, plus director Ira David Wood IV (bottom left)

SECOND OPINION: March 7th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: and Feb. 28th mini-preview by Byron Woods:

Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio presents FRAMING THE SHOT (Female Edition), a world premiere by Allan Maule, at 3 p.m. March 11, 8 p.m. March 16 and 17, and 3 p.m. March 18, 8 p.m. March 19, 8 p.m. March 22-24, and 3 p.m. March 25 in The Royal Bakery Building, 3801 Hillsborough St., Suite 113, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.

TICKETS: $25 ($22 students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel).

BOX OFFICE: 919-803-3798 or

INFORMATION: 919-803-3798 or

SHOW: and




Allan Maule (playwright): (official website), (Facebook page), and (Twitter page).

Ira David Wood IV (Raleigh, NC director and Theatre in the Park‘s assistant artistic director): (Internet Movie Database), (Facebook page), and (Twitter page).


A native of North Carolina, Yvette L. Holder has studied theater at three institutions: the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute (New York), and N.C. Central University, where she received a BA in Dramatic Arts. Yvette also promotes and produces comedy theater, as well as working with playwrights around the country during the development stage of their work. She hosts a monthly play reading session: “Sips and Scripts” at Imurj in downtown Raleigh. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read Yvette and Kurt’s reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.