Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre presents an evening of two plays by Sam Hunter ("The Whale"), written to be in conversation with one another, now performed on a double bill for the first time. More…
At a failing fireworks stand in Lewiston, Idaho, and across the river at a big box store in Clarkston, Washington, two modern day descendants of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark struggle to find a way forward in a world where there is nothing left to discover.
"While McCallum's production of 'Clarkston' is much more effective than his 'Lewiston,' taken together Hunter's two plays are ambitious in scope and epic in theme. 'Lewiston/Clarkston' is an unforgettable experience of young people searching for their roots as well as a star to guide them. Ultimately satisfying in a way few plays are, Hunter's 'Lewiston/Clarkston' will stay with you long after you have left the theater, their characters resonating with you long after they have left." Full Review
“A riveting, haunting two-part play...Under McCallum’s intuitive, compassionate direction, the actors give performances of startling emotional transparency...We are reminded, in both plays that both that historic mission and its leaders were flawed, by factors ranging from imperialism to personal demons. Hunter isn’t preaching about the inherent corruption of powerful nations or their heroes; it’s human fallibility in the context of larger social forces that intrigues and moves him." Full Review
"I might not have gone, and then much to my horror, I would have missed out on something pretty damn special and astonishing. Because what playwright Samuel D. Hunter has done with his new two play evening, 'Lewiston/Clarkston' is dynamically astounding...The writing by Hunter is profound and exceedingly real, showcasing an interpersonal desire for connection and understanding...The acting is across the board magnificently moving and heart-breaking." Full Review
“Theater rarely gets more physically and emotionally intimate...‘Lewiston/Clarkston’ is chamber theater of the most deeply moving kind...‘Lewiston’ benefits greatly from the excellent performances...’Clarkston’ deftly works in elements related to Lewis and Clark with discussions about the explorers' historical legacy...McCallum's superb staging makes excellent use of the versatile space...You'll have a palpable sense of having shared something special with your fellow theatergoers." Full Review
“An exceedingly special and highly unconventional theatrical event. Small in scale—like the work of a miniaturist—but major in scope, Hunter’s impressive opus features a tiny cast, working almost literally in your laps and giving massively powerful performances...The two plays are altogether different...The plays are exceptionally insightful...The performances brought forth from the actors by McCallum are each and every one exquisite.” Full Review
"The production offers something of a counter-argument to Jake’s pessimism: In the theater, there is still something to discover, and it may well help us feel more alive...Such close proximity of audience to actors could be a challenge for both. But even at its most intense, 'Lewiston/Clarkston' is never less than credible, and all the more moving, thanks to the direction by Davis McCallum and the six-member cast, who give astonishingly good performances." Full Review
"McCallum’s beautifully calibrated staging is so intimate it seems to implicate you in its themes...Intimacy compensates to some degree for a slightly abstract quality in ‘Lewiston’...’Clarkston’ is the richer drama, with themes that are more tightly bound to characters and a plot both surprising and inevitable..Hunter’s golden diptych, no less than McCallum’s spectacularly unspectacular production, suggests that small rewards may be the only kind available.” Full Review
"Playwright Samuel D. Hunter has written a new classic American play, not quite a tragedy, but that being said, there are no resolutions to the inauspicious events...Even though the two works are complimentary, 'Clarkston,' the latter of the pair could easily stand on its own and please future audiences. This is one of the best plays of the season and without doubt some of the finest performances. Give yourself a holiday gift and find a ticket to one of the remaining shows." Full Review
"Williamson: Hunter is so skilled at drawing the outside and the inside together and at letting external circumstances inform internal life...'Clarkston' is a better play, but 'Lewiston' lays some important groundwork in terms of tone and mood for the latter play to really soar...Sims: 'Clarkston' is also just a brilliant, brilliant piece of writing. Williamson: The quality of the acting in Clarkston – from all three actors – is truly extraordinary." Full Review
"As usual, Hunter is very compassionate toward his characters, all of whom must struggle for freedom, whether economic or sexual or from addiction...The actors are all superb and are so close that you can practically touch them, a proximity that magnifies your connection...I felt that the direction by Davis McCallum was more than a little sluggish...I would have preferred skipping 'Lewiston' and just seeing 'Clarkston,' which I felt was clearly the better play." Full Review
"Hunter’s smart, sad, inquisitive plays rest somewhere between Jake’s tentative sense of wonder, Alice’s wry weariness, and Chris’s flat skepticism...They need one another — 'Lewiston' especially needs 'Clarkston,' which is tightly crafted, tender, and at times devastating, while its preceding play feels more nascent, as if Hunter’s still finding his way...Exposed is how both production and audience feel, and that’s as it should be." Full Review
“’Lewiston and Clarkston’ were always meant to be performed together...They offer windows onto our struggles with the burdens of history...’Lewiston’ is a story about ghosts...The conflict in this play draws more on what has happened in the past rather than anything we actually witness...’Clarkston’ ultimately steals the show with its wrenching portrait of lives coming undone...The performances are vulnerable and utterly convincing.” Full Review
"Hunter peppers these compelling plays with characters who are descendants of 19th-century explorers Lewis and Clark...Where ‘Lewiston’ is about finding home, ‘Clarkston’ is about fleeing it. Where ‘Lewiston’ slowly peels back layers of story to reveal harsh realities, ‘Clarkston’ tears open its wounds and lets them seep...McCallum and his production team keep things intimate, staging the plays for an audience of 51.” Full Review
"Unequally compelling dramas...'Lewiston' tries to cram too much into ninety minutes, with awkward results...It helps enormously that 'Clarkston' has an ending that, for all its ambiguities, offers at least the possibility of peace for some of the characters...Even marked by a certain up-and-down quality, 'Lewiston/Clarkston' is filled with good performances, and Hunter's ability to mine drama out the lives and conditions of his corner of the Northwest remains unique." Full Review
"For the daring theatrical explorers among us, 'Lewiston/Clarkston,' directed by Davis McCallum, is obviously a must-see. Marathon evenings like this aren't a frequent occurrence...The actors are practically on top of us, but not in a confrontational way...The introspective silences often speak louder than the words...'Clarkston' is far better, a satisfying entree that features three excellent performances...As noble an experiment as America itself, and just as imperfect." Full Review
See it if Want to have a totally original theater experience. And eat a decent meal while you’re at it. The plays, acting, writing are magnificent.
Don't see it if You want to miss something really special. Or you think 3 hours will kill you. It doesn’t feel like it.
See it if you believe the theatre is a place for community to gather and wrestle with itself.
Don't see it if you want a musical or something that puts spectacle before plot or character.
See it if you enjoy emotionally powerful stories with characters that feel realistic and multi-layered and not perfect, with superb directing.
Don't see it if You need a full-blown production. The set is minimal and folding chairs are used. Otherwise, do not miss this!
See it if You want to see two beautifully written plays that compliment one another performed by a perfect cast.
Don't see it if You don't like text heavy, emotionally resonant & serious plays.
See it if Nicolette Robinson superb as most recent Jenna. Her acting and singing were super. First row closeup of her facials expressions genuine.
Don't see it if You hate poignant musicals with a strong heroine.
See it if you appreciate beautiful stories told very simply, and acted with perfect ensembles.
Don't see it if you need big, flashy productions. These shows are small and intimate with minimal sets.
See it if you love Samuel D Hunter, you relate to stories about disadvantaged and isolated people looking for connection, you want to see great acting
Don't see it if you can't sit on high stools, you want something light and fluffy, you want high production quality
See it if you want to be absorbed into two different but related experiences of very intimate theatricality.
Don't see it if you want your theater to be BIG and ELABORATE or don't have the patience to sit through two intimately emotional 1.5-hour plays.
See it if you enjoy watching real people deal with the difficult challenges of everyday life without having all the answers.
Don't see it if you want action or explosions to drive the plot forward, or are not interested in the issues facing small-town America.
See it if You want a unique evening of theater: Two thought provoking plays in an intimate setting with a communal meal in between.
Don't see it if You don’t have the patience to let the plays slowly unfold.
See it if You want to see a pairing of tender, moving, beautiful plays performed by two exquisite casts. Lovely and intimate.
Don't see it if You don’t have patience for quiet plays that reveal themselves slowly. Or if you expect high production values. Very pared down.
See it if Incredible acting -- riveting. So personal and intense. Both plays were engrossing and v. emotional.
Don't see it if You don't like sitting in a theater for a long time. Seeing both plays in one sitting is long. I'd actually rather have seen them separately
See it if You enjoy contemporary themes & serious drama or if you enjoy exploring the pursuit of happiness in shopping malls and park lots
Don't see it if You want something light or if you are biased against gay men
See it if You want 2 shows that complement/pair/exist in the same world but aren't necessarily a unit. You enjoy naturalism + minimalism
Don't see it if You need supportive/comfortable seating (the "stools" have a back but are uncomfortable plastic chairs). You cannot eat quickly.
See it if You enjoy exclaiming "Man, can that guy write!" Intimate, in your face (literally) drama, amazingly well acted over 3+ hrs is OK w/ you.
Don't see it if Set design or first rate theater seating matters to you. Character/ relationship driven drama is not your thing.
See it if you're looking for an intimate and intense evening. A tremendously well written pair of plays in a simple but hugely effective setting.
Don't see it if you're looking for light, breezy entertainment.
See it if 20 y.o.'s go on a treacherous emotional journey in harsh Idaho, seeking their identity and a viable future. Intense multilayered drama.
Don't see it if You are not up for an intimate confrontational experience with suffering characters. 3+ hrs in uncomfortable seats.
See it if you want to spend a few hours in an intimate setting in the company of superb actors performing in moving, well-written plays
Don't see it if these plays are both relatively slowly paced; the first is a bit less compelling than the second
See it if you would like to see 2 heartfelt plays from an important young voice in the theater, beautifully played by 6 actors who give their all.
Don't see it if the prospect of sitting through 2 full-length plays, separated by a half-hour dinner break, is daunting to you.
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