How was your experience?
Saturday I had the opportunity to go to Rover Dramawerks production of Wrens. I had been to a Rover Production of Same Time Next Year and found it an utterly enjoyable experience, so going to their next offering was kind of a "no brainer". I have been an advocate of live theater for years, and have seen many musicals and comedies in that time. I have not so much been a drama person. Not that I dislike drama, just that I love music and laughter, and in general feel that "life" throws enough drama my way as it is. Going to see STNY was an aberration in my theater going experience brought about because I found out about a "NEW" theater in Plano, and wanted to check it out. Little did I know that only the LOCATION was new and in fact Rover has been producing plays for over a decade. I know this review is about Wrens and I have said precious little about it so far. I will get to it... but to appreciate my opinion, background is sometimes necessary to define my perspective. Rover is the project of Carol M. Rice and I have seen one of the plays she directed at The Pocket Sandwich Theater. I was impressed, to say the least, and when I found that Rover was her baby... I wanted to see what it was all about. The results were all I could have hoped for. STNY was a solid drama, well acted and produced and had just enough "life" related comedy to allow me to decompress, from it's very moving sequences. I recommended it to all who would listen afterwards, then set my sights on their next production Wrens. Wrens could not have been more different, in tone, scope, setting, basically all the ways the play could be different. It is a semi - autobiographical historical drama set at the end of WWII. It features an ensemble cast of some very talented young women, who had to learn regional dialects and immerse themselves in historical / period clothing and culture, to bring the play to life. Each of the actors had to maintain a very distinct and recognizable set of behavioral quirks that defined the class, education, socioeconomic rank and age of the women they were portraying. I won't go into a synopsis of the play itself. That you can get from the adverts or the Rover Website. In fact I won't tell you much about the actual happenings in the play at all, because watching the play unfold is much of the experience. What I can tell you is the play was mesmerizing. Breathing, at times, is totally optional, as during some of the more dramatic passes, you could hear a pin drop in the theater. The girls all hold their own, portraying honest and genuine feeling. You can sense their joy and frustration with the world and each other as the struggle to overcome prejudice, social mores and situational crisis associated with the story of the play unfold. All of the actors were superb. Each portrayed their role with skill and gravitas. Notable amongst them were Ella Mock who plays Dawn, a very rigid role that nuances from the events into an absolute myriad of emotion and intensity, and Annika Horne who plays Meg with a spirit of naivete coated in a heart breakingly cruel worldly wisdom that at times threatens to steal the latter part of the show. Needless to say, as the show heads into it's final weeks, you need to go see it. It is excellent and will leave you thinking about many things that are very applicable to our modern times. As a side note, the performance that I was fortunate enough to catch, concluded with a Q&A from the playwright herself Anne McGravie, she was a delightful, funny and extremely sharp woman who was in fact a WREN herself. She draws many of the situations for the play from her life experiences and was happy to answer questions from the audience about many of the characters and inspiration for the roles. This is something that Rover did as a bonus and I felt properly privileged to get a peek inside the writer's head. It made the play even more relevant with the added background and framework of historical anecdotes. I have prattled on for far too long, the review has become a novel. but just go see the play and see if you don't have lots of praiseworthy things to say yourself.