Home Entertainment Strong Performances At CV Repertory Theatre

Strong Performances At CV Repertory Theatre

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic
Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

Coachella Valley Repertory Company (CV REP) artistic director Ron Celona is currently staging Cormac McCarthy’s powerful drama “Sunset Limited”, at the Rancho Mirage-based theatre as the final production of their highly successful second season.

THE SUNSET LIMITED 050-webPlaywright McCarthy has a long list of credits:  He’s written ten novels. He’s won a Pulitzer Prize.  And a few years back one of his novels, “No Country for Old Men”, was turned into an Academy award-winning movie.  His current allegorical play “Sunset Limited”, deftly directed by Celona and starring ML Berry as Black, and Don Oscar Smith as White, is a curious piece.

The actors are very strong in their portrayals of two men drawn together in a Harlem apartment to discuss the vagaries of life and the veracity of the hereafter.  However, McCarthy’s story is surprisingly weak and somewhat repetitive considering the gravity of the subject matter.  And that’s odd coming from him. He is usually very grounded in reality in his writing. This cautionary tale of confronting suicide and faith head-on, is talky, but it comes to grips with how these two men deal with the situation. Black’s (Berry) faith is what drives the story forward, while White’s (Smith) nihilism constantly puts Black to his test of faith.

THE SUNSET LIMITED 032-web Having a dialectic discourse between Black and White is a lot like having a discussion between Senator Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner, on the merits of Budget reform and how to go about it.  These two fine actors just do it, but with more courtesy and intelligence.  Each scores points, depending on one’s philosophical/religious bent.   Also the title of the play is a little ambiguous.   It refers to when suicidal people do make a decision (at least in NYC), their favorite course of action is to “off themselves” by jumping in front of a subway car or a train engine and into the sunset and nothingness…forever… or do they?  And that becomes the knotty problem for Black and White, and the audience.  It’s the sort of provocative story that makes for thoughtful discussion over a cup of coffee with friends after leaving the theatre.

In the technical credits department director Celona has Scenic Designer Jimmy Cuomo provide a grungy looking Harlem apartment setting for Berry and Smith to give those philosophical arguments heft and weight.  Cuomo’s Set Designs over the first two seasons have been first rate along with Stuart A. Fabel’s lighting designs, Cricket S. Meyers’ sound designs and excellent support from Karen Goodwin, stage manager extraordinaire and light/sound operator.

THE SUNSET LIMITED 024-webCV Rep’s theatre operations may be dark until next season’s opening production, but CV Rep is busy all year long.  They conduct outreach programs for the schools in the Valley, as well as other theatre related events throughout the year.  Their Luminary Luncheon series with celebrities and stars is very popular with their audiences and the public.  For information to any of their functions call 760-296-2966 or go online at: www.cvrep.org.

Must Read

PALM CANYON THEATRE STAGES A CROWD-PLEASING MUSICAL REVIVAL FOR THE HOLIDAYS

With the Holidays fast approaching Christmas-themed theatre productions abound practically everywhere.  Out here in Southern California’s desert paradise of Palm Springs even this world...

MUSINGS FROM THE 2019 NYC AMERICAN THEATRE CRITICS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

I’ve noticed a trend lately in our ever-changing theatre scene that states in the playbill/programs that “This production will be performed without an intermission.”  It...

EARLY HOLIDAY GIFT ARRIVES AT NORTH COAST REP THEATRE WITH THE COMEDY THE SUNSHINE BOYS

Most theatre audiences acknowledge that playwright Neil Simon was the true and anointed “king of comedy” not only in America but worldwide.  They also...

OSCAR-WINNING-COSTUME DESIGNER ORRY-KELLY’S JOURNEY FROM DOWN UNDER TO HOLLYWOOD BROUGHT TO LIFE AT THE LEE STRASBERG THEATRE IN HOLLYWOOD

Australia's Orry-Kelly was born in a small town in New South Wales called Kiawa, famed for its blowhole. The only child of an alcoholic...

NEIL SIMON’S MUSICAL FOOLS AT ATWATER VILLAGE THEATER

There is an old adage that "a fool and his money are soon parted." Still, if you want to have an evening of unparalleled...
%d bloggers like this: