Hard knock life

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  October 2, 2013

When we meet Lucius, he is treated especially kindly by Charlie (Rich Morra) who bring him Oreos and girlie magazines. The guard suddenly loses his job, replaced by Valdez (Jason Quinn), who reports the infraction. “You are livestock in storage,” he cruelly says to Lucius. A shift in tone from early sadism makes it seem like Guirgis intended to keep him mean as a snake but quickly softened Valdez as the two main characters needed more talk time. Or the playwright just lost interest in him.

The performers do more than right by their characters. Cabrera could modulate Angel’s anger here and there, but it’s not as though he plays him on one note. As Lucius, Crews demonstrates how powerful a force of nature human nature can become when it’s focused with maximum willpower. Quinn’s imposing size makes him a perfect Valdez, and the decision by director Pitts-Wiley to make him controlling rather than sadistic was a good one. As for the lawyer, Ambrosini couldn’t have done much more with the flawed role, although a little crazed egotism might have explained some of the character’s confusions as well as added some humor.

Dynamic play, beautifully executed production. What more could any theatergoer pray for?

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