Nothing like a "cocktail hour" to get the conversation juices going

Trinity Theatre Company Welcomes its 12th Season with a Western Play that Resonates 

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

The Cocktail Hour. Photo Courtesy of Trinity Theatre Company

Trinity Theatre Company kicked off their 12th Grown Up Stage (GUS) season in their new space in Mission Valley Mall with the staging of A.R. Gurney's The Cocktail Hour, under the direction of Jaeonnie Davis-Crawford.

The Cocktail Hour. Photo Courtesy of Trinity Theatre Company

A fun fact is that 'Cocktail Hour premiered at The Old Globe in 1988, to then be produced on Off-Broadway. A story that entails a very Western family in upstate New York during the seventies where the patriarch Bradley (David Janisch) has a sacred cocktail hour before dinner and with added rules. Bradley and Ann (Sharonfaith Horton) have three kids, John (Bobby Imperato), Jigger (who is just mentioned and makes a phone call that the audience does not get to listen to), and Nina (Hannah Luckinbill). All three are adults and have their own families. Jigger and Nina stayed local while John did not. A publisher in his day job whose real career love is being a playwright. With a few plays with some success under his belt, John goes back home to visit his parents and "ask permission" to produce his latest play titled "The Cocktail Hour", based on his family and a therapeutic exercise if you will where he cleanses the demons in his upbringing. Bradley will not have it and commands John not to produce it until both he and Ann have passed. The real cocktail hour goes on longer because the maid is unable to cook a roast. As the alcohol levels rise, words are exchanged, and truths come out.

The Cocktail Hour. Photo Courtesy of Trinity Theatre Company

The experience was definitely unique and Trinity's new space is pretty cool and functional. Jaeonnie Davis-Crawford's direction was precise bringing raw feelings to the stage, which set a common ground for the audience to reflect and draw their own conclusions. Even though the family is a middle-upper-class, white, white one, the play allows space for one to recognize (remember) their own uncomfortable conversations with parents and family members. The histrionic weight stands on both Bobby Imperato as the no-filter/fed-up son, who now wants to live life to the fullest, and David Janisch who is hilarious, stubborn, and vulnerable as Bradley. The two-hour performance moves at a good pace having also entertaining interactions with Sharonfaith Horton as the mom, and Hannah Luckinbill as the younger sister Nina. 

It is praiseworthy to see Trinity Theatre embrace plays like this to give it their sense and feel.

Looking forward to the rest of their season.

You can still catch a performance of The Cocktail Hour with their final performances happening this weekend Friday through Sunday. For more information on ticket prices and showtimes please click here.

Check out my interview with the Director Jaeonnie Davis-Crawford

No comments:

Post a Comment