A fictionalized look at the quiet life of Edgar Hellum, a closeted man in his nineties who did pioneering work in historic preservation in a small, mid-western town. More…
'The Pattern at Pendarvis' tells the story of a man who just happened to be gay in an era long before Stonewall and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." It deals with contemporary gay identity issues through the eyes of a man who spent his life in the closet.
"We can truly understand and appreciate what these to men did for the town and celebrate their love story...What makes this an astounding production is the connection between Lawrence Merritt, Edgar and Gregory Jensen, Rich. The men are separated by 60 years and throughout the play they develop a deep understanding and respect for one another...The two have breath-taking chemistry...This is a definite must see and another perfect example of theater that matters!" Full Review
"Serene, absorbing, and concise...Gray infuses his straightforward 70-minute interview treatment with tension, suspense, and drama...He provides skillful exposition and while present at the discussion stuffily keeps trying to steer it away from personal disclosures. The dialogue is smooth, efficient, and dotted with references to figures of that time...Megel’s staging is suitably simple yet theatrical...A moving work that documents a distant chapter of gay history." Full Review
“An absorbing new play about queer culture keepers...The premise couldn’t be simpler...A slow burn of a play. The first half is relatively static and expository...Gray’s naturalistic dialogue and incremental storytelling holds our interest. It’s not until the final minutes that the play realizes it’s full dramatic potential...The standout...is Merritt, who embodies the soft-spoken Edgar with a delicate mix of caution, intrigue, humility, fervor, and, ultimately, pride.” Full Review
A play that goes into great detail about its description of a setting while taking place entirely within a man’s living room shouldn’t work so well, but it does...Written with great affection and care, ‘The Pattern at Pendarvis’ is a play whose effect sneaks up on you slowly. At first, it seems like a pleasant enough way to spend eighty minutes, but it gradually becomes something special, and concludes with a beautifully understated ending that respects the nuance that came before.” Full Review
"'The Pattern at Pendarvis' suffers from a certain awkwardness of construction, and, in its later passages, it doesn't entirely avoid the trap of preachiness, but Edgar is a fascinating character brought to life in all his evasive, cranky, poignant glory by Lawrence Merritt...To his credit, the director, Joseph Megel, lets the drama unfold in its own way, trusting it to deliver its considerable emotional impact." Full Review
“A sweet, sincere, but very small exploration of Midwestern mid-20th century life...What’s onstage...amounts to a snapshot—an intriguing snapshot, but one with a frustratingly blurry focus...To watch Merritt navigate Edgar’s rather complicated, detailed monologues is impressive and even inspiring...A touching, fully felt performance...’The Pattern at Pendarvis’ lasts a little over an hour, and it leaves you a little hungry.” Full Review
See it if You like to learn about a gay man’s struggle wt the society back in the day, how they tried to fit in &their story told through an interview
Don't see it if You like bigger production/cast, not interested in gay community, their dilemma just to fit in the community.The risk that they have taken
See it if you want to see a gifted storyteller. Lawrence Merritt is EVERYTHING! Couldn't take my eyes away! Overall, great acting and touching show
Don't see it if you're not comfortable being drawn into a narrative. This is classic, simple draw-you-in storytelling done by a master.
See it if you would like to meet a man whose devotion to a cause (preservation) and to another man had a lasting impact.
Don't see it if you dislike quiet, thoughtful plays that are built on reminicence and reveal character slowly.
See it if Poignant tale of an older gay man being interviewed for a book. Will he share how he & his lover built Pendaris? Touching & heartwarming.
Don't see it if You're looking for a musical. Show runs 70 minutes. All 3 cast members are excellent.
See it if A gem. Famous gay historic preservationist tells of restoring miners' homes in Wis. All of it done with male partner in the 1930s closet.
Don't see it if Very handsome author/interviewer wants to know about being gay in the 30s and 40s. But museum honcho wants to keep the gay angle covered up
See it if You enjoy biographical interviews with witty conversations and lively stories when talking about serious topics
Don't see it if You just want to be entertained or crave for intensity
See it if you don't want to risk missing an outstanding turn by actor Lawrence Merritt. His nuanced performance ultimately touched me deeply.
Don't see it if plays with gay themes are not on your agenda.
See it if A quiet, thoughtful play about antiques, restoration, and being gay in a small town spanning the 20th century. Slower pace. Fantastic actors
Don't see it if You seek a high energy show with set and costume changes, or a musical, or the topic of being gay in America is not of interest
See it if Young scholar learns of life 'before Stonewall" from closeted 'activist' Fine ensemble led by poignant Merritt but cultural steward theme ??
Don't see it if Slow going & a travelogue (20 min) until homophobic curator's outburst Finding true tempo it becomes moving & a plea for generational equity
See it if Like a subtly staged, imagined intrvw re closeted life of gays in midwest and their unsung societal contributions. Quiet drama, nicely told
Don't see it if Not interested in subject matter, think you'd be bored w 3 people in chairs & little to no action, find historical and cultural refs dull.
See it if You want to see a touching, simple piece about the life of a closeted (or glass-closeted) gay man.
Don't see it if You are expecting something that feels like a real play. As lovely as it often is, it’s basically just a fictitious interview.
See it if you are moved by stories about an older gay man at odds with his repressive era; you like plays set in the past
Don't see it if you don't like static action (3 men seated throughout), don't care about the struggles of closeted gay men -- or if you prefer musicals
See it if the touching story of a closeted gay man from an earlier era interests you. You want to see a stunning performance by an elderly actor.
Don't see it if you are looking for a typical play rather than an interview. If gay themes don’t interest you.
See it if to see how two gay men lived prior to Stonewall, like interview type shows, see history woven to a show.
Don't see it if You don't like interview type show, are not patient (slow and you don't get the full gist of it until about 20 min of show) are homophobic.
See it if you like shows that consist of dialog, or those that address homosexuality and social mores of earlier times.
Don't see it if you expect a show to deliver a full or profound experience with well-crafted dialog, elaborate sets and scene changes.
See it if you're interested in how society has shifted around LGBT visibility and homophobia. Lawrence Merritt was terrific as the 90something man
Don't see it if you need a perfect play. It's well meaning and interesting but a little inside its own head. Too much exposition in first half
See it if The leading actor and the actual story are terrific. This play is NOT. A One-man play would help and make a great night at the theater.
Don't see it if This play and its writing would have been considered edgy and acceptable in the 80s, but, in 2018, this feels utterly dated and forced.
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