Part of FringeNYC: Three women bound by blood and tradition. One community in dire straits. Can a centuries-old rite mend the ills of a backwater Appalachian town? Potent and haunting, Kerrmoor straps you in, and you’re off until the bloody end. More…
Categories: Drama, National. From Grrl Parts Productions in association with Interrobang Theatre. Written by Susan McCully. Directed by Eve Muson.
FROM THE ARTIST:
"I like to think that if William Faulkner came back as a middle-aged lesbian who transplanted to Baltimore, he would have written this play," says playwright Susan McCully. "I set out to write an Appalachian Greek Tragedy, a play that presents an intimate family portrait of isolated, white rural America. The play is about where I grew up, surrounded by people who exude nobility, strength and sacrifice, but at the same time are insular and xenophobic. It’s a dangerous mix. I wanted to tell the awful truth about this racist and sexist culture that shaped me. The easy and comfortable path is to disavow these ugly traits. By writing 'Kerrmoor', I’ve attempted to embrace my people, not to celebrate them, but to explore the cost of glorifying a certain kind of rural American mythology."
"A stylish coproduction...Susan McCully opens a Stephen King-ish window into a forbidding world, painting a creepy portrait of 'prideful insularity.'" —Baltimore Sun
"Strange, haunting, beautiful, and moving. Kerrmoor is great theatre. I highly recommend it." —What Weekly
"Captivating…a potent, haunting play." —DC Metro Theatre Arts
"McCully’s play is vivid and visceral…a colossal experience." —TheatreBloom
"Fascinating…an impressive production and a Charm City Fringe must-see show." —The Bad Oracle
"It’s the sort of show where not much happens, but there’s beauty in what’s given. As the mother-daughter leads, Kelly and Hileman's nuanced performances give us two of the most wonderfully backwoods individuals possible…In moments of violence, we don’t observe any wear to the body or any blood spilt. Choosing not to include anything makes such moments comedic and wholly unbelievable...Budgetary concerns aside, 'Kerrmoor' is a well-performed piece with an intriguing premise." Full Review
"The play treats its characters as caricatures of frenzied backwoods folk, never eliciting the empathy one should feel in this Greek-like tragedy; twanging up a storm, the actors do their best with repetitive dialogue, a confusing story line and intermittent breaks into song. At the play’s contrived climax, Agatha warns young Kylie, 'Don’t look back. Leave now.' One feels the same way exiting the theater." Full Review
for a previous production "All three actresses give captivating performances…McCully wears her role like a second skin. She wrote this character and knows exactly how to make Agatha and her pain real...Over the course of an hour, Agatha, Lorna, and Kylie strip themselves bare of all facades until we see them as they are. The transformations are beautiful and painful…'Kerrmoor' is a potent, haunting play; part love letter, part Dear John missive to the past and a place and to the people who remain stuck in both." Full Review
for a previous production "'Kerrmoor' is clear as a bell, aided by McCully’s sturdy, authentic performance in the central role...The dialogue rings with twang and rapture as Agatha’s daughter Lorna and Lorna’s half-sister Kylie get as wild and wide-eyed (and manipulative) as the girls in Arthur Miller’s 'The Crucible.' The old faiths and bigotries run deep in this insular setting, and the earnest 'Kerrmoor' is a kind of exorcism...The single-minded protest and rites of 'Kerrmoor' run their swift course efficiently." Full Review
for a previous production "The text, especially early on, is sparse, not to mention stingy with the exposition. Even by the end you may find yourself wanting just a little more in the way of development (and maybe a little less repetition of some details). Lots of provocative ideas are in the air; not all of them get enough focus. And the horror genre touches don't always click neatly into place. Still, the play exerts a steady pull as it unfolds, painting a creepy portrait of prideful insularity." Full Review
See it if You like plays with roots deep in history and folklore, rituals examined and revisited.
Don't see it if You don't like dark explorations of people trying to escape from the past.
See it if you enjoy a slowly spun tale that drives towards an unavoidable conclusion, but you can remain hopeful that escape is possible
Don't see it if You want a fast pace or scares or action in your thrillers; you can't bear dialects
See it if you think that being confused and intelligent are one and the same.
Don't see it if Program notes say the playwright has a PhD in something or other and it shows - it's a bunch of unintelligible mumbling with no purpose.
See it if You have a taste for smart politically relevant theatre focused on female characters
Don't see it if You like to see theatre that requires little/no work from the audience. You have to "go there" with this play.
See it if you are interested in antiquated belief systems and how they can drive communities to commit unbelievable atrocities.
Don't see it if you are squeamish about backwoods accents or are offended by antiquated belief systems that are based in legend.
See it if you like interesting, thought-provoking plays about strong female relationships and American culture. You're down for some Gothic suspense.
Don't see it if it's hard for you to track a tricky play. The limp direction muffled needed plot points, and the design was too sedate for the material.
See it if You want to see great acting. And if you like shows where you don't have a half hour of exposition in the beginning, they dice right in.
Don't see it if You don't like shows with a bit of a dark side
See it if You want to see 4 strong female characters, an original story, and some really solid acting. An intense ride.
Don't see it if You're looking for something light and funny... This is a play you have to commit to.