2014 MacArthur Foundation Fellow Samuel D. Hunter's bold move is our treat as Clarkston continues it's world premiere tour at the Dallas Theater Center through the end of this month. Click through for my review CLARKSTON at DTC.
The bold move that Samuel D. Hunter is doing is having two world premiere's in two states across the country from each other. The reflection of Hunter's two plays back onto the Lewis and Clark trail is enlightening and rather intriguing. For us Dallas folks, we get CLARKSTON. The Wyly Theater's Studio Theater intimate corner of a COSTCO is set near to an intersection along the famous Lewis and Clark trail. The town of the play is real and is a twin city to Lewiston. The two cities are at a confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers. It's amongst this constant duality that Hunter has given us a fun byline of TWO MEN. ONE JOURNEY.
CLARKSTON's Taylor Trensch plays JAKE, a distant descendant of William Clark. His treacherous trek across the US has landed him smack dab in the world of CHRIS. Taylor's performance is filled with it's own duality. A strong willed guy who's body is slowly betraying him. Sam Lilja's stout but still vulnerable performance as CHRIS showcases a native Clarkston who is not yet fully free. CHRIS' mother is the third of the play's trio and Heidi Armbruster gives a gripping and powerful performance as the play's wildcard presence. The play allows for each character to fulfill long thought out journeys and the battle of new vs old loves is really captivating to watch. The most intriguing and even humorous elements were between JAKE and CHRIS' MOTHER.
Heidi and Trent really shined when they slyly battled wits to gain further ground in the war over Chris. Samuel D. Hunter's writing is witty and intelligent. You gain an appreciation of the history of the area and yet are set in such a corporate world figure as COSTCO. The ironies and conflicts are riddled throughout the play. The sexuality of the two male characters is immediately confronted and helped established a constant but still gripping pace. As we unravel the guy's backgrounds we are treated to an interesting view of each one. But the vibrant and electric scenes with Heidi's MOTHER character really keep you on your toes. Her volatile nature is at first hinted, but finally fully unleashed. It's that explosive reveal that helps push CLARKSTON to a deserved final choice by CHRIS. The way in which we uncover the trio's relationships we gain knowledge of the struggle Lewis and Clark went through and even have a fitting and complex ending. The play is one solid 90 minute push through these folks lives and it never seems to linger. Fluid, moving and refreshing work from Samuel D. Hunter is a real must see. CLARKSTON runs through January 31st at the Wyly Theater's Studio Theater. For more information and tickets please go, here. Try and go to the COME EARLY or STAY LATE!