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The destination of the play isn’t revealed until near its finish. Figuring out where “To Quiet The Quiet” is headed helps make the journey an intriguing ride.
Along the way, the world premiere of Christy Hall’s play at the Williamston Theatre gives the audience numerous signs, markers, and some deceptive clues. Guessing what might be unfolding in “To Quiet The Quiet” keeps the play engrossing.
It is not just a “Whodunit.” It’s also a “Whoisit,” “What is it” and “WTFwasthat.” Since the joy of discovering the surprises in “To Quiet The Quiet” would be spoiled by any plot details, this reviewer will be quiet about those.
Loud praise for the cast is harder to muffle. Brenda Lane masters the role of Kathy — a multifaceted woman with a shifting personality. Lane seems completely natural as a woman with some unnatural mannerisms and volatile moments. Watching her is more like spying on a real character than witnessing a performance.
Steve Wojtas is commanding as Quinn — a younger fellow who often gives particular commands to Kathy. Wojtas gives a strong performance that suits his sturdy frame. He handles his role as if the part was written for him — although the real identity of Quinn’s “part” isn’t revealed until he leaves the stage.
Todd’s identity is more obvious. John Lepard plays the character with a believable sensitivity, gut-wrenching emotion, and real tears. Like the other actors, Lepard delivers the countless lines of a wordy script flawlessly and with a sincere delivery.
Hall’s play has dialogue that mixes tenderness, pathos, poetry and rage. The just-over-an-hour-with-no-intermission, “To Quiet The Quiet” has few quiet moments on stage — and none of the often-rapid conversations have petty speech. It’s the kind of articulate and suspenseful story Alfred Hitchcock would have loved.
The Williamston Theatre production comes with special dressings. Lex van Blommestein’s substantial set has a working door, see-through window and detailed flooring. Michelle Raymond’s extensive adornments add realistic detail, including numerous shadow box wall hangings, kitchen accessories, a filled cedar chest, ceramic dolls, a crazy quilt and sewing machine.
Everything on the stage seems appropriate for a decades-ago period and just right for many of the play’s revelations.
Sometimes subtle, sometimes eerie and sometimes startling sound effects by Jason Painter Price always feel authentic. Fitting lighting by Dustin Miller also embellishes the changing moods of “To Quiet The Quiet.”
Alexis Black’s fight choreography adds some “how-did-they-do-that” moments. Shannon Wojtas’ smooth direction keeps the assembly of the puzzle pieces like she followed a detailed storyboard. Again, Hitchcock would have approved.
“To Quiet The Quiet” managed to quiet and still an official opening night house that was completely immersed in the mystery. Breaks in the silence were when the audience occasionally chuckled, gasped and wept. Only robots, those in comas, or buried statues could hide emotions during such a moving play.
When it was over, and all was finally divulged, a thunderous applause erupted during the curtain bows. When the actors walked off the stage and the house lights came up, most attendees remained in their seats and seemed stunned. “To Quiet The Quiet” has that kind of punch. It’s worth making Williamston a destination to see why.
“To Quiet The Quiet”
Through Feb. 24 Tickets start at $28 Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, 2 p.m. Williamston Theatre 122 S. Putnam St. Williamston (517) 655-7469 www.williamstontheatre.org