Photo Credit: Dianne Tack;
The Courtroom with [Left to right] Miles Phillips, Brian Linden, Chantal
Thomson, Denise DeMirjian & Joshua Warr
Pride River Crossing
By Joel Benjamin
The Fresh Fruit International
Festival of LGBT Arts and Culture celebrated its 10th Anniversary
ambitiously presenting theatre works, comedy, readings, music, dance and film.
I caught Patrick Thomas McCarthy’s Pride
River Crossing, subtitled “A Spoon River for a New Century.” Six fine
actors portrayed over forty characters. Unlike Spoon River, only a few of these are deceased. Instead, we get a tapestry of interwoven lives,
written with an expert ear and an emotional acumen that few modern playwrights
possess. Over the course of an hour and a half, the fictional town of Pride River came alive through the words of its inhabitants, all in a minimal stage set
with just chairs and appropriate, scene-setting projections and appropriate,
character setting costumes.
Photo Credit: Dianne Tack; [left to
right]: The Kelly-Kennedys - Chantal Thomson as Keira Kelly-Kennedy, Miles
Phillips as Kevin Kelly-Kennedy; Joshua Warr as Kyle Kelly-Kennedy & Brian
Linden as Kenny Kelly-Kennedy
The long list of Pride Riverites
includes the very modern Kelly-Kennedy’s—two Dads, teenage brother and
sister—are living evidence of Pride River’s LGBT. The two Dads are
ridiculously happy and clueless to the undercurrents of discontent of their
children, one of whom is straight and the other hypersensitive to the petty
squabbles and money problems.
Photo Credit: Dianne Tack; Cammy's Cakes
with Chantal Thomson as Cammy, Joshua Warr as Jimmy and Brian Linden as Mr.
At the other end of the tolerance
spectrum is Trevor whose Mom Rachel home schools him to keep him away from all
“perversion.” Mr. Drama, a schoolteacher worries about being the “spinster”
and understands that touching of any kind can easily be misconstrued. A young
man mourns at the grave of his twin sister who died at birth.
Mitzi Reid, the ebullient real estate
agent, loves having gays move into Pride River because it raises the value of
properties. A self-described tough guy wants to kill all the gays while
Dolores and Angela are ardent pro-gay activists. A PFLAG mom reveals that
three of four kids are gay.
Photo Credit: The Weddings with
Left to right - Brian Linden, Miles Phillips, Chantal Thomson, Laurie
Strickland and Denise DeMirjian
And so the rich panoply of life and love
in Pride River is revealed, far too many to mention individually here, all
wonderfully sculpted by Mr. McCarthy’s words, the vocal and physical nuances
of the sensitive cast (Brian Linden, Denise DeMirjian, Miles Phillips, Laurie
Strickland, Joshua Warr and Chantal Thomson) and the rhythm sensitive direction
of Patrick Aran.
The only connecting device is a rally
that all the characters are aiming to attend, to express whatever personal
agenda they have. Perhaps this is a weak organizing gimmick, but the writing
is rich enough to sustain the disjointed nature of Pride River Crossing.
If this show is representative of the
Fresh Fruit Festival’s standards this will be around for many more
Crossing by Patrick Thomas McCarthy
Fresh Fruit International Festival
The Wild Project
195 East 3rd St.(bet. Aves. A & B)
More Information: www.FreshFruitFestival.com