Road to nowhere

Springfest 2003: Bill Two

By Steven Gridley
Directed by Jacob Titus
Spring Theatreworks
Altered Stages
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by Charles Battersby

The second bill in Spring Theatreworks' "Springfest 2003" was Sun Stand Thou Still, the story of a nameless protagonist simply called "the Driver." The Driver is trapped on an endless desert road that goes on forever. At the end of this road, the Driver presumes, is some sort of reward: one scene suggests he'll be rewarded with magic apples; another suggests that there'll be unicorns waiting at the end of the journey. Tragically the Driver never finds this reward.

Just as the Diver is trapped on an endless journey with the empty promise of unicorns at the end, so was the audience. Just as the Driver discovers that there are no unicorns or magic apples, the audience found that there was no resolution or plot twist awaiting them at the end of their two-hour journey -- unlike, say, a Twilight Zone episode, in which Rod Serling reveals a metaphor's meaning after only 30 minutes.

During the endless journey, the Driver is accompanied by the Hitchhiker. Occasionally the two meet the Apple Woman (Erin Treadway). The conversations the three share usually center on apples and urine, with the apples being some vague "Garden of Eden" metaphor, and the urine possibly a symbol for something or other as well. In fact, biblical references abound in the play (the title itself is a quote from Joshua 10:12). The biblical references only serve to further confuse an already circumlocuted story.

Frank Shattuck was masterful in his depiction of the Driver and deserved to be in a much better play. He was so committed to the role and so convincing that at times it seemed that Spring Theatreworks actually hired a real redneck to play the role. Stephen Douglas Wood as the Hitchhiker was a great sidekick for the Driver and handled his numerous urination scenes with as much dignity as could be hoped for.

The set, by John Connors, cleverly simulated the various vehicles used in the play. These cars were metal frameworks and steering wheels on posts. The frames quickly and quietly came apart for subtle set changes, and to represent car crashes.

Director Jacob Titus did his best to make something out of nothing. Most of the play was just two or three people sitting around talking about urine and apples, and Titus took advantage of any opportunity to put in some action.

(Also featured Nathan Stith.)

Box Score:

Writing: 0
Directing: 1
Acting: 1
Sets: 2
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2003 Charles Battersby