THE REAL THING
by Tom Stoppard
"Perloff and her design team confront and confound expectations from the beginning. In place of the anticipated drawing-room-comedy realism of the opening scene, the curtain rises on a vast abstract canvas. J.B. Wilson's stunning set is a Mark Rothko-influenced wall of rough-edged burnt purple and orange with deep black holes for doorway and windows. A second, interior, gilded proscenium, mirroring the one that frames the Geary stage, signals the blurred lines between reality and fiction. A long, solid, deep purple couch serves as the scene's domestic focus.
The couch -- moved from place to place, altered to become railway seats -- anchors each successive scene as Stoppard moves through layers of theatrical and real infidelities. Nancy Schertler's painterly lights help distinguish the "real" scenes from their reflections in snippets of plays -- from 'Miss Julie,' 'Tis Pity She's a Whore' and works by Stoppard's central character, the playwright Henry -- and signal the introduction of key new players with stark tableaux. Fumiko Bielefeldt's attractive casual costumes bring out hidden riches in Wilson's palette. Diana LaMar is smart, breezy and bitingly quick as Henry's first wife, an actress every bit his equal in intelligence and sarcasm. Stephen Caffrey is a beguilingly soft-solid Max, an actor friend who combines self- absorbed blindness with obtuse sensitivity.
ACT core company members Marco Barricelli and René Augesen hold the stage beautifully as Henry and Annie, who will become his second wife. Erotic electricity crackles across the stage in the first revelation of their love and the playful delight of intimate discoveries impels their early scenes together. A deep tenderness and familiarity underlie the frustrations and fissures their marriage faces in the second act."
–– ROBERT HURWITT, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
THE REAL THING, A.C.T.. 2005 encore arts programs cover
ALLISON JEAN WHITE
CLAYTON B. HODGES
J.B. WILSON, SCENERY
FUMIKO BIELEFELDT, COSTUMES
NANCY SCHERTLER, LIGHTING
GARTH HEMPHILL, SOUND
PAUL WALSH, DRAMATURG
DEBORAH SESSEL, DIALECT CONSULTANT
MERYL LIND SHAW, CASTING
HAYLEY FINN, DRAMA LEAGUE DIRECTING FELLOW