Sunday, September 25, 2022


Samuel D. Hunter's attempted polemic  is a story that examines a touchy topic: Homosexal Reversal for Young Men. 
Walt (John Perrin Flynn) has lived a life of dedicated service.  His cabin in the woods in northern  Idaho, provides an isolated locale for this old guy who has been a 'counselor' for troubled teens for many years. 
His is a system of Faith Based Counseling  
What RMT has done with The Matrix stage is highly creative.  Bruce Goodrich's beautifully rustic cabin   spans over forty feet from right to left, leaving some attendees in left field as some action evolves many yards away. 
Daniel (Jeffrey Delfin), is Walt's last client.  Daniel arrives alone. He is overly distraught. We begin at a snail's pace as director Elina de Santos allows the introduction of the confused and frightened Daniel's meeting Walt iitially  to take a considerable length of time to evolve. 
It must be slow and methodical for a reason. 
Inexplicably, after an intermission  and we have met all of the characters, each of whom is concerned about the disappearance of Daniel, whom we thought just took off for a short hike, we flash back to a chat that Walt and Daniel had, that provides some exposition, previous to the boy's departure from the cabin. It is a device to show that Walt was making progress. The two seem to have a genuine connetion, but this was confusing to me.

Hunter's play is commentary not only on the locale where these "conversions" are supposed to take place, but also speaks to the "wilderness" of the mind as we advance in age.   Walt's current state of mind seems to be mostly cogent and engaged, but his lapses of memory factor in. Difficult challenges in his own life and how he has lived and lives now are grist for the mill.    The subtext is subtle.
On an imagined television set  a DVD plays. We hear  Anna Khaja pitching the amenities of Shady Gardens, the expensive retirement community that Walt's former wife, Abby (Rachel Sorsa) has signed him up for. The DVD  plays at an annoying counterpoint to important dialogue on and off. Abby has arrived with her now husband,  Tim (Tony Pasqualini),  intent on carting Walt off to his new safe harbor: Shady Gardens.
When the extraordinary interstital music becomes equally memorable to the play itself,  there's something about the play that begs the question, "What about the therapy?" 
The story turns on several ways to focus on Walt's fading cogency, as well as the  angst of Daniel's mother, Eunice  (Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield), who has raced up the hill to confront the 'program'. 
And, then!! A sparkling ringer blows in.  Park Ranger  Janet (Tania Verafield), with her ebony braid and Smokey the Bear hat; sporting a crisp no nonsese demeanor, livens things up. Energy is what the story has been missing. It picks up considerably with Janet's arrival. We have confidance in Janet! We have hope that Daniel Shall Be Found and that all shall be well. 
The acoustics in The Matrix tend to absorb the more intimate dialogue on the stage, occasionally leaving the audience somewhat in the dark.
And, then,  literally, as the last line of the play sums up what this has all been about in the first place: it's lights out.  
This is a thought provoking  theatre piece.
I encourage fans of Rogue Machine to see it.

The Cast: 

Jeffrey Delfin as Daniel 

John Perrin Flynn as Walt  

Tony Pasqualini as Tim  

Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield as Eunice   

Rachel Sorsa  as Abby 

Tania Verafield as Janet 

Creative Team

Bruce Goodrich (Set Design) 

Chris Moscatiello (Sound Design)

Elizabeth A. Cox (Costume Design)

Vicki J. Scott (Lighting Design)

Anna Khaja (Shady  Gardens (Spokesperson/VO)

 “A Great Wilderness”

by Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by: Elina de Santos

At the Matrix Theatre
7657 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
(Street parking)

Opens at 8pm on Saturday, September 24 (previews 8/22 & 23)

Plays at 8pm Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays; 
3pm Sundays
(No performance October 10)
Closing: October 31, 2022

For reservations call 855-585-5185 or

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