|Show: FULL CIRCLE
By: Erich Maria Remarque
Adapted By: Peter Stone
|Location: Wheaton Drama
Director: Sean Ogren
Assistant Director: Suzanne Ogren
Disclaimer: Before I begin I should warn you that there might be a bit of bias with this particular production from Wheaton Drama… and not in the sense that you may think. For me war dramas are rather difficult for me to look at (let alone be a part of) with any objectivity due to my own personal and familial connections with war. So bear that in mind as you continue onward with this particular post.
So why the disclaimer? Simple, because this was not an easy show to watch for me, nor was it an easy show to think about let alone review.
Other than the above disclaimer what other strikes was there in regards to this show? Well by virtue that I knew a fair number of the cast by either reputation, having worked with them before, or having seen them in other productions I already knew walking in what they could bring to the table.
Take all that together in consideration and my expectations for this production and for the players in it and they are much higher than the norm for a community theatre production.
So how did “Full Circle” from the cast and crew at Wheaton Drama fare?
Set Design: Love
Wait… wuh? Well allow me to explain… eventually.
This was a very moving, very emotionally charged show. There is a lot going on when it comes to the human condition that will touch (and possibly provoke) the audience in different ways. Because this production is set in the point of view of the citizens / common man who don’t typically see the actual warfare, but are victims of the raids / bombings / etc… it open a window into the lives of these people in ways that media never could.
These are the people that didn’t ask for war, didn’t ask to hide in bunkers as the sky showers with explosive devices. These are not the people that want to stay inside earlier and earlier everyday because it is too dangerous to walk out on the streets. These are not the people that wanted their lives to be disrupted or asked to live in constant fear and paranoia as to who is a friend / family / foe. But… to even understand any of the above… this is a production that must be seen. Because honestly, nothing I can say would do this production justice, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.
What really set the stage from the get-go was the director’s (Sean Ogren) intention of making sure that everyone spoke with an (authentic as possible) accent, be it German or Russian… depending on their character. While most everyone did a respectable job, I felt that Lauren Filip – who portrayed the sometimes oblivious, sometimes annoying, and but 100% self-indulgent Grete – was the most authentic.
Don’t ask me why, seeing as my own accent (Asian or otherwise) do need work… but Lauren’s German accent felt and sounded the most realistic and natural as if she spoke German regularly.
Another aspect of the production that was above and beyond was the set design and scenic art as done by R J Ogren. He truly knocked it out of the park from the skyline of the near-ruins of Berlin, to the feel of the inside of the apartment.
But you’re not here to read about the accents/dialects or the set/scenic design… you really want to know about the show don’t you? Well if the above scorecard isn’t enough…