'Shadows' noble but lacking

Theater Review | Thru July 20

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Shadows, now at Epilogue Players, is a new play by one of Epilogue’s members, Fred Harvey, and is also directed by him. The subject matter he takes on is noble, as well as practical: older folks dealing with a second-rate retirement home. It addresses our health care system, as well as giving 50-plus-year-old actors a place to showcase their talents.  -Don Coleman and Jerry Mauch play checkers in the Epilogue play ‘Shadows.’-  But the play doesn’t explore the characters in any depth, or show a transformation. It is neither a character study nor a play with a plot, per se. We see a large cast of characters interacting with each other in the home’s courtyard day after day, and are introduced to a silent John Doe (who could have been a catalyst for some action).

While John performs a significant deed towards the end, allowing some of the characters to feel more empowered, his action isn’t justified by anything he had done before. The ending itself is rather abrupt, leaving the audience confused about what has just happened.

Opening night, there were a lot of line flubs and it seemed some ad libbing was going on. Many lines seemed to go no where, or felt like non sequiturs; I can’t say whether these were mistakes or the lines were scripted that way.

The best moments of the show were when an abusive orderly named Jud, played by Mark Collins, was onstage. His aggressive, derisive attitude was completely believable, and made me flinch more than once. His animated performance was the best of the bunch.

Shadows continues at Epilogue, located at 19th and Alabama streets, through July 20; call 842-2811.

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