Abducted in The Heartland
Written and performed by William Riedmann
Directed by Debra De Liso
Tech by Joe Kibler
“Abducted in The Heartland” is a play about a moment in the life of its writer/director William Riedmann.
A moment so profound, so life changing that it has, in some way, shaped every subsequent moment of his life since.
When William was 13, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, he met a man. Or rather he was preyed upon by a very bad man and, through a series of unfortunate choices, ended up trapped in this bad man’s car driving into the night and away from everything he had ever known.
This heartfelt and well-crafted story, told from the perspective of the boy and then the man he became, and seen through additionally pivotal moments throughout his life, is a very simple and very clever one man show. William Riedmann relives his own story not with tragic resignation but with the strength and the grace of a man who survived.
It’s as if we, the audience, are privy to William’s internal quest for answers to how one wrong turn, one bad decision can shape your life so much that you can hardly remember a time where it wasn’t the first and only thing to give perspective.
This is a brave, brave play. William lays bare his struggles to find a place in this world. He travels from Poland to Hawaii and across the US looking for what we are all ultimately yearning for – a clue to who we truly are, free from that which traditionally defines us, family, home, the predictable pattern of our lives.
Wether or not this journey is still evolving for him I cannot say, but I can tell you this, “Abducted in the Heartland” goes a long way to define what this moment did, at least for me as an observer. With a light hand William shares the repercussions of a shattering, unknowable and never changing truth, and that is surely a noble purpose and if ever art can have a reason, it must be this.
If you get the chance to take this journey of discovery with William I recommend that you do. It’s a moving and gentle vision of a life lived well and courageously. It’s also an excellently formed and well-executed piece of theatre, and with wonderful attention to characters and the connections between them.
I was lucky enough to see the show at The Whitmore Lindley as part of the NoHo Fringe Festival. But for future performance you should check out the website.