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AtticRep closes fourth season with flair

By Deborah Martin
Express News
June 18, 2010

AtticRep ends its fourth season with typical flair, offering an engaging double bill of original one-acts.

First up is “The Reason of the Insane Ones,” written and directed by Roberto Prestigiacomo, the company’s producing artistic director. In it, a couple of guys (Andrew Thornton and Joel Settles) in a mental institution have circular conversations about breathing, whether a bed is a living thing, loneliness, cats vs. dogs, there vs. here and the whale they each can see resting beneath a tree just outside their window. A nurse (the pitch-perfect Renee Garvens) drops in on them occasionally, and they also receive a visitor from the outside (Justin Laughlin).

The dialogue has a distinctive, musical rhythm to it, and Settles and Thornton give their characters an almost childlike quality early on. The playfulness is yanked away when they start talking about how they landed in the institution. In one disturbing scene, the stage is plunged into darkness and all the audience hears is voices — it’s like climbing into someone else’s troubled mind.

The second half of the bill is “Us,” an often lyrical company-created piece directed by and featuring Rachel Joseph. It uses “Our Town” as a jumping-off place to explore identity, connection, life and death. Kyle Gillete takes the place of the Stage Manager, guiding the audience through the piece. It’s an effective, frequently moving work.

Combined, the one-acts make for a first-rate evening, leaving audiences with a lot to think about and discuss on the drive home.

“The Reason of the Insane Ones” and “Us” can be seen at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through June 27 in the Attic Theatre, Trinity University. Tickets range from $10 to $20. Call (210) 999-8524 for reservations or visit atticrep.org.

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