by Michael Meigs
Those who attend Trinity Street Players' Three Viewings by Jeffrey Hatcher will be spending some time in the dark with these faces. Each will feature in a solo act, navigating the fragile thread of human emotion like a tightrope walker. Or, to use the German expression for it, like a 'rope dancer,' because these narratives are not as predicable as a taut line. These characters inhabit the same world and speak to us from the same space -- a barren smoking lounge in a funeral home in the northeastern United States -- but they don't appear together until the curtain call
That black box theatre up on the fourth floor of the First Baptist Church puts them within arm's reach of the audience. Director Bob Beare builds that up-close-and-personal feeling by having two of his talented actors enter through the audience ("excuse me; excuse me; coming through, here") and the other one emerge from the audience.
Jeffrey Hatcher has written three monologues as intimately eerie as pieces by Edgar Alan Poe and as surprising as short stories by O. Henry. The narratives are not in the least morbid, despite the setting and even though they speak frankly of funerals and of the recently deceased. These are the living, bereaved but not bereft.
Trinity Street Players stages three plays a year and they often fill up this space with characters and actors. That's what happened in their productions of Steel Magnolias, You Can't Take It with You and Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy. Shadowlands was really a two-character play but those characters were well surrounded.
The three solo one-acts of this piece by Hatcher require different strengths. Each actor must establish rapport, create the character and tell the story as if delivering it to the ear of an old and trusted friend. Their success here reinforces the impression that Trinity Street Players are by far the most accomplished community ensemble in the greater Austin area.Read more at AustinLiveTheatre.com . . . .