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The Other Place

by

Sharr White

February 13 - March 8, 2014

Gala Opening: Thurs., February 13, 7pm

 

The palest ink is better than the best memory.

 

 

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Sharr White


FUSION captures yet another production straight from Broadway, Sharr White's spellbinding drama, The Other Place. Meet Juliana Smithton, a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. Her husband has filed for divorce, her daughter has eloped with a much older man, and her own health is in jeopardy. Piece by piece, a mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth about Juliana boils to the surface. "The Other Place is a cunningly constructed entertainment that discloses its nifty twists at intervals that keep us intrigued." - Charles Isherwood, NY Times The Other Place is directed by Shepard Sobel (Pearl Theater, NYC, founder making his FUSION main-stage debut).

Other Desert Venues!!

FUSION Theatre Company continues to grow! We're thrilled to announce performances in Albuquerque at our home for the past eleven years,The Cell, as well as the neighboring and historic Wool Warehouse; in Santa Fe at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (where FUSION enjoyed a terrifically auspicious inaugural season last year!) and in Las Cruces at the historic Rio Grande Theatre downtown, in Gallup at the El Morrow and soon in Taos!. FUSION will present The Other Place:

Thursday, Feb. 13, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM GALA OPENING SOLD OUT!
Friday, Feb. 14, The Cell, ABQ, 6PM SOLD OUT!
Saturday, Feb. 15, The Cell, ABQ, 2PM (matinee) SOLD OUT!
Saturday, Feb. 15, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM SOLD OUT!
Sunday, Feb. 16, The Cell, ABQ, 6PM SOLD OUT!
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Thursday, Feb. 20, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM
Friday, Feb. 21, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM
Saturday, Feb. 22, The Cell, ABQ, 2PM (matinee) SOLD OUT!
Saturday, Feb. 22, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM
Sunday, Feb. 23, The Cell, ABQ, 6PM
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Added show!-- Saturday, Mar. 1, The Wool Warehouse, ABQ, 8PM --Added show!
Pay What You Wish performance!
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Friday, Mar. 7, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, 8PM
Saturday, Mar. 8, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, 2PM (matinee)
Saturday, Mar. 8, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, 8PM


For tickets and information call 766-9412 or click here:

  • Free parking is plentiful in our lot just north of the theatre. The Cell is located at 700 1st St. N.W., just west of Broadway and south of Lomas
  • The Wool Warehouse is located just south of The Cell at 516 1st St. N.W.; free parking is available at their lot, south (not north!) of the Wool Warehouse or at The Cell's lot up the block, on the north side of The Cell.
  • Parking in Santa Fe is available at a number of inexpensive public lots in the immediate vicinity of the Lensic.

Review, Albuquerque Journal, by Barry Gaines, 2/21/14:

"The Other Place, Sharr White’s taut and tricky play about mental and marital health, is being presented by FUSION Theatre Company at The Cell. The production, under the insightful direction of New York veteran Shepard Sobel, is engrossing and even haunting.

My favorite daytime psychological guru, Dr. Phil, has this mantra: “Perception is reality.” By this, he means (I hope) that an individual’s perception is that individual’s reality. Yet, logic mandates a single reality, despite the number of participants or observers revolves around the paradox of perception.

Dr. Juliana Smithton appears confident and self-possessed as she addresses an audience of physicians about a new wonder drug that she discovered. Yet, she is distracted by a young woman in a yellow bikini who is avidly listening to her lecture. When the woman disappears, Juliana is unable to continue her talk.

From this fascinating opening scene, we move forward and backwards in time, aided by Richard Hogle’s scenic and lighting plans and Brent Stevens’ evocative sound design. We see Juliana as a scornful wife, a loving mother, and a difficult patient. The more information playwright White gives us, the less confident we become about our perception and reality.

Like our computer’s spell-check, trying to make sense of what we type – often with surprising results – we in the audience piece together the narrative, sometimes backspacing to make corrections. We are carefully and cleverly given information until the play’s final scene, when all seems clearer. There is no intermission.

I hope that I have been mysterious as well. There is no need, however, to be coy about the acting. It is excellent. There is, however, a discrepancy about ages. The actresses playing mother and daughter are not the 27 years apart that the script says they are. But the performances are more important.

Celia Schaefer plays the Smithton daughter Laurel, who ran away from home at age 15, with visible exasperation and a desire for independence. Schaefer also plays Dr. Teller who tries patiently to help Juliana, who is sure she has a brain tumor. Schaefer performs a third role as well, and she is able to delineate each character with sharp focus.

Peter Diseth is strong as – among other roles – Juliana’s research post-doc, who was involved with the daughter. Scott Harrison is compelling as Juliana’s husband, Ian, a cancer specialist himself. Harrison powerfully conveys his character’s confusion and exasperation at his wife’s erratic moods and actions.

At the center of the play is Juliana, portrayed by FUSION’s own Jacqueline Reid in one of her finest performances. Reid’s Juliana is assured, fierce, loving, disagreeable, confused and frightened as she takes the audience with her on a harrowing journey. The Other Place is outstanding."


Review, Art in NM, by Alissa Hall, 2/18/14:

"One reason we go to the theatre, I believe, is to find ourselves. We cast projections of our Self on to what we see onstage, and from that, build compassionate, emotional responses, and so we laugh or cry as the story unfolds. This notion of self, as well as what is found and lost in a lifetime, is integral to The Other Place, presented by FUSION Theatre Company at the Cell Theatre in Albuquerque, as well as the Lensic in Santa Fe. Brilliantly written by Sharr White, this show just finished its last season on Broadway and is enjoying its Southwest regional premiere to many sold out houses in Albuquerque.

The story of Juliana Smithton unfolds in vignettes that give us glimpses into her patchwork identity. Like each of us, she is many things, a professional and company representative of the drug "Identomil," prescribed for dementia, i.e. loss of self. Yet she is also a mother, a (perhaps soon to be ex?) wife, and many other identities that allow the audience to glimpse her truth, yet question the veracity of what we're seeing as Juliana's tale spins out. Played superbly by Jacqueline Reid, this character's complexities are teased out, moment to moment, as Reid shifts clearly and seamlessly into and out of many realities for the entirety of the show, which is presented without intermission, allowing it to build to a momentous finish. Her sustained focus and approach allows Juliana to become more than one identity, something that refuses to be pinned down.

Around Juliana we see Ian, her husband, strongly played by Scott Harrison. Like a counterbalance to the emotional swings that are Juliana, Ian struggles to maintain an even keel with his clearly brilliant, yet troubled wife. Celia Schaefer is described as "The Woman" in the program, and we see her brilliantly interacting with Reid intimately on so many different levels as she embodies the various female characters that tell Juliana's tale, some reoccurring, such as Dr. Teller, Juliana's psychiatrist. "Have you always been this elusive?" the doctor asks, as Juliana resists any singular description of herself, or even one singular reality. Also playing many characters is Peter Diseth, called "The Man," and embodying the other masculine projections of Juliana's multiple visions of reality.

Under director Shepard Sobel's care, Sharr's writing shines in a cast as tight and talented as this, and in a house as intimate as the Albuquerque production offers. Never losing focus, Reid gives deeply to each actor in their scenes together, and yet carries her long solo moments with breathtaking storytelling. Woven into and out of real time is the dementia drug Identomil's presentational pitch, where Juliana's eloquent soliloquies become taken over with "the girl in the yellow, string bikini," whom she ridicules, then examines, then empathizes with, as the entire tale of Juliana's reality unfolds. When the stunning truth of the girl is revealed in the last moment of the play, I was overcome with tears to see the story I had just witnessed. Which is not to characterize the story as being a downer, it's certainly not... but it carries an emotional gravitas to its finish that moved me deeply.

The opening weekend was sold out every night, Thursday to Sunday, so be sure to book your tickets to see this one ahead of time on their website at www.fusionabq.org or call their office at 505.766.9412. Albuquerque audiences have until February 23 to see the show at the Cell Theatre, and one additional opportunity that is new to FUSION. On Saturday, March 1st at 8 pm, the show will play at The Wool Warehouse, The Cell's neighbor to the south. This is their inaugural visit, and because of the larger venue, a "Pay What You Wish" performance is being offered. And, Santa Fe crowds can see this gem too when they pull into the Lensic on March 7 & 8."


Review, Talkin' Broadway.com, by Wally Gordon, 2/18/14:

SPOILER ALERT!!!
"By most measures, The Other Place, now in production for the FUSION Theatre Company at the Cell Theater, is a slight piece of stagecraft. It's really just an extended single act with two scenes, one major actor, three supporting actors, and a nearly bare stage with only half a dozen pieces of small furniture. Nor are there high suspense, scintillating dialogue, profound insights or eloquent prose to enliven the evening.

But there is something about the play that is unusual and serves as its saving grace: It is a story told from inside the mind of what you slowly come to understand is a madwoman. The depth of the dementia of Juliana (Jacqueline Reid) only gradually emerges through the hour and a half drama, but even when she is at her soberest, most briskly balanced, businesslike and coherent, the protagonist is a piece of totally subjective art. We see her perceptions and misperceptions as if they were reality, no matter how distant from fact they would seem to an objective observer. It is the tension between the subjective and the objective, the perceived and the real, that gives the play deceptive depth.

Juliana is truly in "the other place," a term that also emerges as a description of her grandfather's old house on Cape Cod where the protagonist spent time as a child and where the greatest trauma of her life unfolded. A doctor in her early fifties who has turned to delivering speeches pitching a new drug, Juliana is the only fully realized character in the play. In the opening minutes we learn that she has brain cancer, is being divorced by her husband, and is alienated from her daughter and son-in law. Gradually, we discover that everything we—and she—thought was true is mere illusion, for this is a thoroughly delusional woman.

Playing such a woman is a challenge, and Reid, a founder of the FUSION and a regular in its casting and direction, performs convincingly in the complex role. In fact, she turns it into something of a star vehicle. She is on stage throughout the play, and dominates every moment of it. The three supporting actors, Celia Schaeffer, Scott Harrison and Peter Diseth, all do smooth, workmanlike jobs, although playwright Sharr White has not given them a lot to work with. Perhaps the trickiest part is the disjointed time sequence that moves back and forth through the years with only an occasional cue signaling when and where the action is occurring. Director Shepherd Sobel, however, has ably handled those potentially confusing temporal shifts."


Review, Hollywood Reporter, by David Rooney:

"By turns proud, defensive, cruelly cutting and utterly helpless, [Juliana] pushes us away only to yank us back with shattering self-exposure. This is fearless acting, conveying the myriad painful human contradictions of a woman clinging to her formidable intellect like a life-raft while desperately trying to find a safe channel through the enveloping fog."


Review, New York Daily News, by Joe Dziemianowicz:

"The play’s strength is the canny way White jigsaws together details until they form a full picture, complete with a touching emotional kick."


Review, Chicago Tribune, by Chris Jones:

"[Juliana] leads you though the 80-minute proceedings with such astonishing force of will that one emerges from the dark interior of the theater greatly discomforted by the realization that everything her character has just revealed is, in all likelihood, some variation or another on the completely bogus."



The Other Place Cast


Jacqueline Reid

Jacqueline Reid* (Juliana) is a founding member of FUSION. At FUSION: Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Humble Boy, Clybourne Park, Other Desert Cities, Time Stands Still, Once in a Lifetime, God of Carnage, The 39 Steps, August: Osage County, Overruled, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, How the Other Half Loves, The Homecoming, Parlour Song, Suddenly Last Summer, Private Lives, Hedda Gabler, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Taming of the Shrew, Closer, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Regional: Romeo and Juliet, Agnes of God, Crimes of the Heart, Tribute. Film & Television: Heat Lightning (Best Actress: Bend, Oregon Film Festival), Doc West, Triggerman, In Plain Sight, Unsolved Mysteries, and True Confessions with Adam Arkin. Directing credits include the regional premiere of Doubt, Red, The Mandrake, Happy Days, Death of a Salesman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Buried Child, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Lie of the Mind, The Unexpected Man, The Long Christmas Ride Home,and the world premieres of Mad Hattr and You Can’t Get a Decent Margarita at the North Pole. She is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts. Jacqueline has been a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 1983.

Celia Schaefer
Celia Schaefer* (The Woman) is a New York-based actress and delighted to be joining FUSION for the first time. Her work in New York City has included world premiere productions at Ensemble Studio Theatre, LAByrinth, Atlantic Theater Company and Soho Think Tank. Celia’s regional work includes Stageworks/Hudson’s critically acclaimed Tomorrow in the Battle, WTD Theater’s production of Virtue, Desire, Death and Foolishness which later transferred Off-Broadway as Chekhovek, the touring company of Chicago City Limits Improv, and Arms and the Man at Long Island Stage. Her film work includes: Detachment, Heterosexuals, Young Teamsters and Little Pieces, and she has appeared on television on NBC’s Conviction and CBS Daytime’s As the World Turns. Celia is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is an alumna of The North Carolina School of the Arts. Celia has been a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 1987.

Peter Diseth
Peter Diseth† (The Man) is excited to work with FUSION once again after appearing in their productions of The Seven: Failure to Communicate, The Lost Ending, Overruled and The Seven: Tangled Webs. Since moving to Albuquerque in 2009, Peter has appeared on stage in twenty productions with eight different companies. Some of his other favorite local credits include: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (ALT), Wooden Snowflakes (Duke City Rep), Love Song (Mother Road), Long Day's Journey Into Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and Glengarry Glen Ross (Vortex). He received his B.F.A. in Acting and B.S. in Directing from Southern Oregon University. Peter is a proud Equity Membership Candidate.


Scott Harrison

Scott Harrison (Ian) is a graduate of the American Repertory Theatre Institute in Cambridge, MA and also studied at the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory in Washington, DC. He has performed regionally in New York, Boston, Miami, and Washington, DC in productions including The Taming of the Shrew, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Suburbia, and Wit. Since moving to Santa Fe in 2002, he has performed with Theaterwork, Theater Grottesco, Shakespeare in Santa Fe, Chamber Theater, Greer Garson Theatre Company and at The Lensic in productions that include The Rainmaker, Wenomadmen, The Guys and The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. He also starred as “C.S. Lewis” in FUSION’s production of Freud’s Last Session. In 2005, he founded Ironweed Productions. He has performed in Ironweed’s productions of Fool for Love, True West, Rabbit Hole and Buried Child, and will appear as “Mike” in their upcoming summer production of Good People. He also appeared opposite Jacqueline Reid in Pieboy Films’ noir short, Heat Lightning. Special thanks to his wife Lisa.

* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States

† Equity Membership Candidate

 

 

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director, Shepard Sobel