“Slow Thunder” is a wonderfully cerebral play. Its protagonist, Jewel, played beautifully by Ann Noble, is at her home in the midwest. A farmhouse that once belonged to her family and that she has been able to restore to the way it was when she lived there as a girl. After a successful career in New York and a recent and devastating end to a love affair, she has moved back permanently. And this is where we find her, sitting on her porch, drinking coffee, waiting for an oncoming storm to sweep across the fields.
Of course, this is just the beginning of what unfolds in an artful and ever-deepening story of love and friendship, forgiveness, strength, self preservation and letting go.
Peter, the man who broke her, shows up, unannounced, brooding, painfully charming, and he tries his best to selfishly rekindle what should probably never have even begun. He is played to perfection by Robert Yacko. However, it’s the other relationships in Jewel’s life that shine much more brightly and purposefully. Her closest friend Bird, is a wonderfully funny and warmly wise woman, played with a truly lovely and slightly frayed sparkle by Sue Gisser. Jewlel’s friend and potential lover Rob – strong, tall, and aching to defend her – helped her renovate the house and basically never left. Theirs is a deepening bond and it showcases this play’s ability to remind us that the realest love is often not the most obvious. Our friends, the few we keep forever, are our soulmates in the end…quite rightly.
The performances are really excellent. Believable, relatable, endearing and tightly wound. The actors seem to say more with looks and refrain than with words, although those words are wonderfully wrought and powerful. There’s a storm always approaching, and you can feel the pressure mounting, the temperature dropping, and the electricity in the air.
“Slow Thunder” is a very effective and extremely engaging play. The characters are memorable, meaningful and the kind of people you would want to have around…even Peter, although perhaps in smaller doses. As these four open up to each other and themselves, choices are made, truths revealed and humanity celebrated. Aren’t people strange and peculiar in the most wonderful, wonderful ways? We should appreciate that more I think and revel in the unexpected and delightful uniqueness all around us.
Bravo! Highly recommended.
The cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Sue Gisser, Rob Nagle, Ann Noble, and Robert Yacko.
Set design is by Allen Corben with GT/NYC, lighting design is by Miles Berman, costume consultant is LollyWrigs/Chicago, soundscape and effects are by Janna R. Lopez Räven, and musical supervision is by Lobelia Lawson. Production stage manager is Miles Berman and assistant stage manager is Mallory Corben. Photos and graphics are by ImageWorks. Slow Thunder is produced by Allen Corben for bAfA TheatreWorks.
Running through November 12.
Theatre 68 Arts Complex
5112 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601