Monday, July 21, 2014

THE DOLL via Unbound and Wicked Lit

THE DOLL Adapted by Jeff G. Rack

A unique opportunity awaits locals who love innovative theatre.  I’m late to the party, but there’s a week left to see THE DOLL presented by Unbound Productions at the astonishing Strub Hall Manor on the Mayfield School campus in Pasadena.

Wicked Lit and Unbound Productions have created a unique environmental theatre piece that sweeps us back in time and into the crisp and almost courtly era of the 1930s.  Similar to the production of Tamara, presented at the old American Legion Hall on Highland in the 1970s, The Doll moves a small audience from room to room as we sit or stand inches from the actors as they unfold a Gothic Tale of mystery and horror.  Horror may be a slight over statement, however, the two women in the audience in front of me were huddled tightly together and were holding hands as the spooky story unfolded. 

Designed by Wicked Lit specifically for Strub Hall, the short production immerses the audience in mystery. Our no nonsense guide/Hilda (Tanya Mironowski) is the head maid/servant of the manor.  She guides us into to the mansion’s dining room for the introductory scene and then through the mansion with efficiency. 
Amelia Meyers as Jane Joska

In the dining room, the delivery of an arcane parcel specifically for Colonel Masters (bombastic Andrew Thatcher) is misdirected to his slightly spoiled darling daughter, Monica (Asia Aragon), just before the colonel’s actual return from the British campaign in India.  Estate manager Jane Joska (beautifully prim and spotlessly precise Amelia Meyers) runs a tight ship.  She takes her management duties very personally. When troubles arise, she takes responsibility.  Mrs. O’Reilly (warmly portrayed by Jennifer Novak Chun), another maid, has heard strange voices coming from Monica’s bedroom.  Upstairs, we gather outside the bedroom door to witness the women’s attempt to find out just what is going on. Armed with a poker, a rosary and a Bible, they see and hear something through the keyhole!

All in all, the short play is a Penny Dreadful that brings the action inches from the audience, perfectly directed by Paul Millet. 

The Wicked Lit company has teamed with the drama department at Mayfield School to fully stage their gothic within the mansion built early in the last century by an oil magnate who was certainly a conspicuous consumer.  The intricately carved woodwork, marble floors and exquisite décor are from another, more elegant time.  Just to wander through the space is an experience that most common folks shall never experience.  To see the mansion is, alone, a very good reason to see this show!

Scheduled to close next weekend, I highly recommend this one to the theatre aficionado who appreciates a unique approach and highly professional acting. Director Millet has taken into consideration that the audience is inches from the action. The actors bring their characters to life with nary a hint of “acting.”  

Christine Cover Ferro’s costumes are perfect. Tech by Ric Zimmerman is spot on.  This is a short but memorable trip back to an elegant past with some really spooky stuff thrown in.  

A well done staged reading of The Shadowy Third is also being done in conjunction with The Doll.

Unbound Productions presents:
THE DOLL (A Wicked Lit Installation)
Adapted by Jeff G. Rack
Based on a story by Algernon Blackwood.  
Mayfield School
500 Bellefontaine
Pasadena, CA 91105
Final Performances:
July 24-26 at 7pm, 7:30pm and 8:45pm
All tickets are $25.00
Get Tickets at 
(323) 332-2065

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