May-June 2009

Off the Wall Theatre capped off it's 9th season with a gripping production of Michael Cristofer's "The Shadow Box". The 2008-09 season explored the many facets of disfunctional families. From the domineering mother of "Gypsy", to the family secrets of "The Vortex",and even to the eroticism of Oscar Wilde's perverse family in "Salome", we have not shied away from delivering high quality family drama that most companies would avoid. So, to complete our cycle, we brought you this Pulitzer Prize winning drama about the toll terminal illness can take on even the closest of families.

But this play is not about dying. Instead it is about how you must continue to live life and love before the chance is gone. Within the span of one spring day, three very different families must deal with the curve ball life has thrown them. The manner in which each of these families confronts the impending loss of a loved one is as diverse as life itself: touching, tearful, courageous, angry, blindly hopeful, and at times surprisingly hilarious. "The Shadow Box" is about how these eight wonderfully different people grow through their grief; and the stages that lead them, and those they love, to a gratitude for life and to the acceptance of death.

A play this complex required a strong and diverse cast. Our first family was Larry Lukasavage, Donna Lobacz, and Avi Borouchoff. Joe (Lukasavage) is a middle-aged, blue-collar family man who has accepted that he is dying. However, his wife Maggie (Lobacz) is in denial, and has not told their son Steve (Borouchoff) about his father's condition.

Karl Miller, Nate Press, and Tamara Martinsek played the second of our three "families". Brian (MIller), a bisexual English professor is being cared for by his lover, Mark (Press). They receive a visit from Brian's flamboyant, slightly trashy ex-wife Beverly (Martinsek). Brian is delighted to see Beverly, but Mark is not a fan.

Our last story involved Inge Adams and Kristin Pagenkopf. Felicity (Adams), an elderly, cantankerous, somewhat senile woman, is being cared for by her long-suffering daughter Agnes (Pagenkopf). Felicity is in great pain, but refuses to die, because she remains hopeful that her favorite daughter, Claire, will return to her soon.

Off the Wall regular Jeremy C. Welter took a break from performing to direct this production. As was the case with many in our cast, this was labor of love for him. He has been waiting to do this show for 17 years and jumped at his chance to bring it to life for our audience. David Roper, our technical director, designed a simple set to help transform our theatre into an actual shadow box.

So many of us have coped in our own lives with the very problems with which "The Shadow Box" deals. The play was an uplifting and inspirational testament to our own love and suffering and acceptance. The Shadow Box is not about dying, but about living!