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Richmond Triangle Players The Pride

By • Apr 17th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
The Pride
Richmond Triangle Players: (Info) (Web)
Richmond Triangle Players Theatre, Richmond, VA
Through April 27th
2:10 with one intermission
$21-$26 (Plus Fees)
Reviewed April 13th, 2013

Some say life is a series of lessons we’re doomed to repeat until we learn them. Others take this one step further and believe in reincarnation. Some even believe that we are predestined to meet certain people in life. All of these themes can be found in Richmond Triangle Players Production of The Pride.

The Pride follows three characters, Oliver (Stevie Rice), Philip (Nicholas Aliff) and Sylvia (Stacie Rearden Hall) in parallel lives in London in 1958 and 2008. In 1958, Philip is married to Sylvia, who is illustrating Oliver’s most recent children’s book. Philip and Oliver end up being attracted to one another and have an affair. In 2008, fed up with his infidelity and random hookups, Philip leaves his lover Oliver, but Sylvia, who introduced them, tries to help Oliver get his life back together.

The play transitions back and forth, with the dimming of the lights, slides projected on the back wall, and often a character crossing over through time via a passing crossover between scenes!

In 1958, Oliver hopes that some day we will have an epiphany, and realize things will be all right and people will be happier. It is his hope, that in the future people will have the dignity of being heard, and the pride of having a voice.

His hope is only partly realized. While the back and forth drama clearly exemplifies that differences between a closeted 1958 where gay men sought “treatment” or committed suicide and 2008 where they are more free to be themselves; there is still little satisfaction in life. All three characters are in constant search for someone to love them and accept them. The 2008 Oliver believes in change, and feels they are lucky to no longer be on mute and to be able to openly talk. Yet, instead of embracing the love he has found, he follows his constant urges for random, anonymous hookups.

All three actors command the stage and display an emotional connection not only to their characters, but to one another. Their eye contact, physical touches, and comfortable dialogue where they interrupt one another or try to finish each others’ sentences feels real. Also, as my companion for the show, Morgan, pointed out; they were all clearly comfortable in their own bodies (yes, there is some nudity, and some strong sexual content, including a very powerful and believable rape scene).

The actors greatly differentiate their characters from 1958 to 2008. In 1958, it is like watching an episode of Masterpiece theater with the proper English accents and decorum. In 2008, it is more like the Spice Girls meets Jersey Shore, where things are much more crass and their dialogue sounds more like a truck driver’s English.

The cast is rounded out with Evan Nasteff (the man, Peter and the Doctor). His scenes as the first two characters are extremely funny as compared to the more serious drama carried by the other characters. He conveys excellent comedic timing and energy that adds a spark to the otherwise heavy themes.

T. Ross Aitken’s set works well utilizing a two-tiered stage and small sideline areas to create four different set areas. The living room furnishings work well in both time periods, although I would have liked a changeable afghan on the sofa or some other small touch to help differentiate the time periods. Thomas W. Hammond’s costumes also enhanced the transition from the classy 1950’s looks to the more crass 2008 identities. David White’s lighting helped set the mood as well as enhanced the transitions in time.

Jason Campbell wove the whole piece together beautifully, directing his actors and utilizing the stage very well. I had a few minor complaints though, such as not having Sylvia pantomime knocking on the door when an audible knock is heard and some rather stagnant blocking in the first scene that left Philip and Oliver sitting and bantering back and forth almost like the talking heads of the old Point/Counterpoint on “60 Minutes.”

If life is truly a series of lessons we’re doomed to repeat, The Pride clearly shows that when it comes to relationships, we still have a lot to learn. But, as Sylvia says, “It will be all right.”

Photo Gallery

Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia), Stevie Rice (Oliver) and Nicholas Aliff (Philip)Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia), Stevie Rice (Oliver) and Nicholas Aliff (Philip) Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia) and Stevie Rice (Oliver)
Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia), Stevie Rice (Oliver) and Nicholas Aliff (Philip)Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia), Stevie Rice (Oliver) and Nicholas Aliff (Philip)
Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia) and Stevie Rice (Oliver)
Evan Nasteff (Peter) and Stevie Rice (Oliver) Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia) and Nicholas Aliff (Philip)
Evan Nasteff (Peter) and Stevie Rice (Oliver)
Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia) and Nicholas Aliff (Philip)

Photos by John MacLellan

The Cast

  • Philip: Nicholas Aliff
  • Sylvia: Stacie Rearden Hall
  • The man, Peter and the Doctor: Evan Nasteff
  • Oliver: Stevie Rice

The Crew

  • Director: Jason Campbell
  • Author: Alexi Kaye Campbell
  • Set Design: T. Ross Aitken
  • Dialect Coach: Susan Schuld
  • Managing Director: Philip Crosby
  • Artistic Director: John Knapp
  • Stage Manager: Alecia Shulz
  • Costume Designer: Thomas W. Hammond
  • Lighting Design: David White

Disclaimer: Richmond Triangle Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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is by day a Special Education teacher, teaching History, Science and drama to Middle and High School students in a private Day School in Stafford. He has degrees in Educational Media and Special Education. He is also a part time Radio News Anchor and occasional actor in the Richmond area. Bruce is a native of New Jersey and spent most of his "adult" life in Upstate New York, where he started and ran a national award winning youth theater and cable television program for over 10 years. He has lived in Virginia since 2002, and in Caroline County since 2005, where he is active in many community groups; including serving on the Board of Caroline's Promise.

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