Friday, November 1, 2019

A New Play ‘Lands’ at Delaware Theatre Company

By Charles "Ebbie" Alfree, III

Harry Hamlin & Stefanie Powers play three roles
in Joshua Ravetch's play,
One November Yankee.
Photo by Matt Urban.
The second production of the 2019-20 Delaware Theatre Company (DTC) season is Joshua Ravetch’s engrossing new play, One November Yankee. The playwright, who also directs the two-person production, explores the unique relationship between three sets of siblings through three interwoven stories.

Stefanie Powers and Harry Hamlin play the siblings. Maggie and Ralph contemplate their respect and loyalty toward each other as they prepare a major art exhibit; Margo and Harry confront a life-and-death situation as they travel to a family wedding; and while on a hike, Mia and Ronnie come to terms with a past family tragedy that has fractured their relationship. Through the stories, Ravetch skillfully writes of the love and rivalries that typically occur between siblings and the joys and tribulations that come with being in a family.

Although Powers and Hamlin are best known for their film and television work, both are superb on stage. Playing multiple roles requires both actors to demonstrate a range of emotions during the 90-minute performance. Powers plays a staunch art museum curator (Maggie) and a strong-willed amateur pilot (Margo); Mr. Hamlin plays an eccentric artist (Ralph) and an aspiring author (Harry); and they both play bereft hikers (Mia and Ronnie). Powers and Hamlin exquisitely convey vulnerability and strength, making their performances heartbreaking and powerful. However, they also find humor in their characters, helping alleviate the play's heavy subject matter.
Scenic designer Dana Moran Williams has created a startling and effective set. A small yellow plane 'crashed' into the middle of the stark stage serves as a constant reminder of not only the situation that binds the characters, but also a symbol of when their lives are crashing down, they must depend on each other. In addition to some other minor set pieces, a screen on the side of the stage projects videos and pictures of the characters’ current setting and state-of-mind between scenes, which prepares the audience for the next act.

Coping with the pressures of working together, comforting each other during a catastrophic time, and reconciling a strained family relationship, Ravetch does a remarkable job conveying the ups and downs siblings face during a lifetime. It’s not often we have such a distinguished playwright and director work on a new piece in the First State -- and have two extraordinary actors bring it to life every night, so get your tickets today before One November Yankee closes on November 10!

For tickets and additional information, visit www.delawaretheatre.org or call 302.594.1100.

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