Closer is a complex play full of powerful emotions, desires and intense relationships. However, director, Ed Corsi handled this show with refinement and accuracy. Personally, this is my first experience seeing Closer onstage, and I am grateful that I saw this particular production. The script for this play is intelligently written, and it examines the seeming insanity of human interactions. The show will resonate with anyone who has been in a relationship. The production of Closer at the Eagle Theatre is a solid production, and the power of this play comes from outstanding performances from its four incredible actors.
Closer is a play by Patrick Marber that premiered in London in 1997 and opened on Broadway in 1999. The play is about the relationships between four characters: Alice, Dan, Anna and Larry. Over the course of the play these four lives intertwine and it is a look at love, desire and betrayal. This play is incredibly successful at drawing the audience into the story, and it holds the audiences’ attention and will have people talking and thinking about the play for many days to follow. Closer has emotionally intense moments, as well as humor. The show is about human relationships and their inherent irrationality, and this production is done incredibly well.
The thing that struck me about this particular production is that I found the portrayal of each character relatable, and felt empathetic toward the characters throughout the show. This play did exactly what a well done production of this show should do, and that is to make me think about the themes in the show, and how the characters are significant. One of the characters, Larry, says, “Every human life is a million stories,” and that is exactly what this play does – it brings forth that every person has a multitude of layers with many stories to tell. Jeffrey Coon plays the role of Dan, an aspiring writer who starts out his career by writing obituaries. At the beginning of the show Coon comes across as a likeable character, and he really brings to light Dan’s feelings of inadequacy and his fears of failure as a writer. Throughout the play he becomes bitter and unsatisfied with his life. There is a scene between Coon and Samantha Morrone in act two, that is highly emotional, and these two fine actors handle this intense scene brilliantly. Morrone plays Alice, who appears to be a free spirit. Morrone conveys that there is an inner secret behind Alice’s naiveté. It always seems like there is a secret desire Alice is hiding, and Morrone gracefully brings to light her character’s wish to be loved. Lauren Kerstetter portrays Anna, a photographer who is unsure of what she wants in a relationship. What struck me about Kerstetter’s performance is that her facial expressions reflect the emotion she sees as she takes pictures. For example, there is a scene in act one where she is photographing Alice, and Anna’s facial expression reflects Alice’s vulnerability. Kerstetter conveys a feeling that Anna is always lost in thought, it is as if Anna sees the world through her camera, and Anna seems happiest when she is photographing other people. Kerstetter and Tim Rinehart, who plays Larry, have a great chemistry onstage, and the explosion between these two characters at the end of act one is full of passion and intensity as they expose their true feelings. This scene is fiercely portrayed. Larry is a dermatologist who wears his heart on his sleeve. Reinhart’s portrayal of Larry makes him a likable character, and he really brings forth the hurt he feels from betrayal.
I need to mention a couple of items that really helped make this show excel. The first is the use of video that helped provide the backdrop for the individual scenes. This use of digital media was well done, and really helped the audience understand that time was passing between the scenes and provided a type of backstory for the development of the relationships between the characters. Brian Morris serves as the Video Designer for this show. In addition, I felt the costumes in this show helped to tell the story of each character and their personality. For example, Alice appears complicated with her edgy clothes and blue hair, and Anna looks professional in her jeans and boots. These costumes designed by Kate Tharp Schaefer assist in telling the stories of each character.
Closer runs at the Eagle Theatre through October 10, 2015. For more information and tickets visit their website at theeagletheatre.com or call the box office at 609-704-5012.
Photos courtesy of The Eagle Theatre.
Final Thought: Closer at The Eagle Theatre is an incredibly well done production with strong direction and performances. This play capably shows a portrait of human relationships ranging from love, desire and conflict. It is a show that will affect audiences and have them thinking about these characters long after they leave the theatre.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.