Tuesday, February 10, 2015

REVIEW - "FIRST YOU JUMP" by Eva Moon - Directed by Gary Schwartz

REVIEW - "FIRST YOU JUMP" by Eva Moon - Directed by Gary Schwartz
I love North Bend, and saw a great show there. Eva Moon wrote and Gary Schwartz directed "First You Jump," 24 January, at the Valley Center Stage, which is a modern black box theatre, located in the North Bend Masonic Hall for the past 11 years.
North Bend is East of Seattle, past Issaquah and Snoqualmie. All trees and little town. Pound for pound, so much more going on than in Seattle. Nice movie theatre and restaurants, world-class improv and jazz, wonderful live theatre, and the original "Twin Peaks" diner. (Mar-T's, now Twede's), beneath majestic Mt. Si.
"First You Jump" is a deceptively simple show. Up on the raised stage, its clever set unfolds differently for each of the show's five scenes. Director Gary Schwartz introduced the evening on that stage, with only a flag and lectern, draped in red, white, and blue, there with him.
Each of the show scenes is introduced by its own song, written by Eva Moon, and sung by Kathleen Roche-Zujko. The songs are sweet songs, bluesy, funny and ironic. Not too "on the money," which is the danger here. They don't give away the scene beforehand either, and they are good.
Each scene is essential comedy, leading us to believe a certain situation, and then... something important is revealed, which changes everything.
I love a good story, especially with a good surprise. I don't enjoy being able to predict what will happen next, or when it turns out there is no surprise. Each scene in "First You Jump" has a good surprise, and delivers it.
Eva did a wonderful job of protecting her five little surprises until exactly the right script moment, while Gary's direction delightfully heightens and explores the implications of where those surprises lead. The Cast nimbly played the material really well.
I can't really tell you exactly what happens here, because I don't want to wreck it for you, but obliquely...
Scene 1 - Damage Control
Sharon (Rocelle Wyatt) spins an odd situation.
Scene 2 - Red Algernon
Dolores (Robin Walbeck-Forrest) has to decide
which candle to be - bright, or tall.
Scene 3 - Gepetto's Funeral
Pinocchio understands control, more than most.
Scene 4 - Growing Feathers
Corinne (Robin Walbeck-Forrest) is drawn to a new
situation, by a dark and compelling need.
Scene 5 - Terminal Velocity
Esther (Gretchen Douma) meets her hardest choice.
Scenes are almost certainly not what you think from their titles. Early scenes tease their structure, in their setup and reveal, but after Intermission, they play with the form, pack serious emotional power, and the stakes are high. I was still thinking about them the next day, which is the test of good show and ideas, for me.
Props and Sets created by Fred Rappin, Jonathan Seaton, Gary Schwartz, and Craig Ewing.
Simple and effective Lighting Design by Fred Rappin, Brandon Comouche and Gary Schwartz. Brandon Comouche rendered Lights & Sound, perfectly.
Capable House Managers were Wanda Boe, Tina Brandon, Gary Schwartz, and Becky Rappin.
This show is over far too soon, and I can't really say that about many shows. I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure you will, too. After the show, I really recommend Boxley's, for live music and good food and drink.

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