By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Think that scene's loud? It's followed by gunshots (one of which almost burst my left eardrum) and a thunder and lightning storm of biblical proportions that seems to go on for a year and a day.
Wade's writing borrows from the huckster-as-hero twist of N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker and the lesser Tennessee Williams of The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. A lot of it is downright sappy. "Happiness for people like us always comes as a surprise," Wallace says to Miriam.
With characters that are unlikable or simply frightening, Raw Vision needed its actors to soft-pedal some of the outbursts rather than overplay them (they actually wallop each other with sticks again and again). But Wood comes on like gangbusters in his first scene and has nowhere to go energy-wise. If he's not pacing like a caged panther, he's running his hands through a greasy mop of hair. As Miriam, Smith gives a going-through-the-motions performance. She shares no discernible chemistry with Wood.
Raw Vision continues through July 1 at Kitchen Dog Theater, 214-953-1055.
Pitts maintains strong concentration as the disturbed Royal, a giant of a man with the mind of a child. But the writer doesn't give his character much of a transformative experience even after he is struck by lightning. He's as badly cared for and wounded at the end as he is in the beginning.
It took two directors--Christopher Carlos and Tina Parker--to stage this noisy mess. Nice set by Bryan Wofford, though. Those tall stalks of sugar cane around the shabby house could be hiding just about anything. Gators. Snakes. Maybe a sneaky platoon of rejected playwrights.