Nashville playwright Jim Reyland stages his strongest script yet
A Terrific Lieby Martin Brady
Presented by Writer's Stage
Through Nov. 21 at The Next Level, 1008 Charlotte Ave.
A Terrible Lie, Nashville playwright Jim Reyland's latest work, might be his best so far. The credible scenario revolves around a personally conflicted writer desperate to publish his next book, his faithful wife and some of the residents of the retirement home where she works as a nurse. Any more plot details would venture into spoiler territory.
As always, Reyland displays a gift for dialogue, and he moves his audience seamlessly between the couple's apartment and the senior residence, weaving an interesting tale of human weakness and need exemplified by the differing priorities of youth and old age.
The cast, under the direction of Barry Scott, is uniformly excellent. Ross Bolen and Alice Raver deliver sharp, sensitive work in the leading roles, but it's particularly gratifying to experience the performances of longtime Nashville veteran Cecil Jones and Jeremy Childs, the latter on a local stage for the first time in recent memory. Childs is superb in a finely etched portrait of a man with an edge but also a conscience. Jones' wife, Jane Jones, also makes a return to live theater with a convincing and poignant portrayal of Raver's wheelchair-bound, Alzheimer's-afflicted mother. Equally good, only sassier, are Dorothy Robinson and Martha Manning as a pair of senior sisters of indefatigable spirit.
More so than his previous effort Article Four, Reyland's drama seems to have gained a lot through its monthlong workshop process leading up to the opening — not to mention that this script features more realistic characters and plot development, resulting in a more satisfying emotional experience.
Article 4 strains credibility, but forceful acting carries the day
By Martin Brady
Published on November 11, 2009 at 10:25am
Whatever faults Jim Reyland's original play Article 4 has, lack of ambition or incident isn't among them. Now up in a workshop production under the thorough direction of Barry Scott, Reyland's script-in-progress delivers a fitful, convoluted character study of one Jonathan Forty, a middle-aged man given up for adoption in infancy. Having grown up to become a piano teacher in Cincinnati, Forty's life changes abruptly when he is named heir to his birth father's fortune. He assumes a capricious attitude toward his new largesse—including ownership of the New York Jets, whose coach he bedevils with midgame calls.
Article 4 is nothing if not eventful,
Nashville Scene - October 22nd
Best Workshopped New Musical
21 Baker Road
Jim Reyland and Addison Gore's thoughtful, fanciful work about family and the important things in life had been sitting in the authors' trunk looking for a home. Then they decided to mount it DIY-style, in an elaborate staged read-and-sing at the Troutt Theater, directed by Barry Scott. With wonderful performances by people like John Warren, Sara Schoch and Lisa Gillespie, the show drew a packed, interested crowd. Now Reyland/Gore have gotten feelers from the West Coast. -MARTIN BRADY
21 Baker Road at Writer's Stage
This being Music City, it behooves us to pay attention when talented locals invest time and treasure in an original musical theater piece. Co-writers Jim Reyland and Addison Gore have been developing this charming story with a meaningful message for a few years now, and it took a major step forward in 2008 when a formal, staged read-and-sing was presented at Belmont's Troutt Theater to a near-capacity audience.
March 25, 2009
'21 Baker Road' probes misplaced obsession
Charlie Brigade lives for his house. At the expense of his wife and kids, he invests himself in its perfection until it consumes him. But when he makes an ill-starred trip to the roof and winds up making like a lawn dart over the edge, something strange happens: He's transported to a homeowner's purgatory where he can watch his old life carrying on without him. A big fall, we find out, has a way of rejiggering your priorities.
March 1, 2009
Brevity is the soul of theater
People's Branch presents series of short, local compositions
By Fiona Soltes
FOR THE TENNESSEAN
You may feel like you've already seen and heard it all, but People's Branch Theatre is betting you're wrong.
Fighting the urge to bring audiences familiar entertainment, People's Branch is hosting three nights of play readings, including as many as 10 brief pieces each evening. This week's Bridgestone 10X10 Festival of Short Plays will feature works from a variety of playwrights, none of them longer than 10 minutes in length.
November 23, 2008
Ten years after its debut, playwright, actors return to work with fresh insight
By FIONA SOLTES
FOR THE TENNESSEAN
Among the boxes, amid the dust, a new story is emerging. It's one that's been a long time in the telling — and the people involved are as much in the story as it is in them.
The scene is an old warehouse, and two old Army pals have been tasked with clearing out its contents. As they come together, however, unspoken histories come to the forefront, allowing the men a chance to settle their spirits and move on — not so different, it could be said, from the playwright and actors themselves.
STUFF, written by Jim Reyland and featuring Barry Scott and Matthew Carlton, sees its full premiere in December, almost 10 years since its critically acclaimed workshop debut. Back then, Scott and Carlton read their lines from the then-defunct Belcourt Theatre stage. It was 1999, and Reyland was a relative newbie on the scene, before penning seven plays and three musicals.
By Kevin Nance
Writer's Stage gives voice to new works, new talent
By FIONA SOLTES
For The Tennessean
There were really no other options: 21 Baker Road was either going in a drawer, or it was going onstage.
It wasn't that it was Jim Reyland's first play- he'd actually written six before - though it was his first musical. And it wasn't that it was Addison Gore's first musical, though it was a piece that hit close to home.
No, this was a different kind of collaboration, one solid enough that both men saw its potential as a springboard for the Nashville theater community as a whole. In addition to being a new work that will be staged on Saturday, 21 Baker Road is the inaugural piece for a fledgling theater company focused on giving other new works wings. Writer's Stage aims to soften the competition through collaborative efforts, shared resources and mutual encouragement.