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Come to Me, Leopards

Cyrano’s Theatre Company presents

Come to Me, Leopards

A new work in progress by

Arlitia Jones

Runs Oct. 25 - Nov. 17, 2013

Reviewed by Robert Pond

The title, Come to Me Leopards, comes by way of the non-compromising, beautiful animal that runs like it was in a ballet.

Running, as an activity, seems to be in stages.  It begins with conditioning one’s body-temple by addressing the cardiovascular system, which, we hope, will extend life while helping the bones, the waistline, and the cool look runners seem to develop.  The second stage is that after running reaches the level of no return, you do it because not running is simply unimaginable; it reaches beyond just being a discipline.  It can be therapy, or for some, running can border on the obsessive.

For the play, Come to Me, Leopards, running is the backdrop for four women who have bonded as running partners, sharing in each other’s lives and challenges, warring and consoling as friends do.  For these girls, running is a rest stop from life’s complications.

Come to Me is a ‘play in progress’, which gives the piece a chance to be tweaked and settled before it has to be definitive. New plays seldom have this opportunity and Cyrano’s is applauded for this encouraging part of their theatre program.

As such, the choreography of the actors is sometimes very clever, and collectively, this play is a crowd pleaser.  The characters are well drawn and do become interesting, and by act two, you really begin to care for them.  But there is room for rounding off the edges; the comedy is largely gag lines and thus the transitions between the comedic and the dramatic moments are too abrupt.

A talented cast of women are driving this production.  Morgan Mitchell as Sydney Witherspoon does well in her role as the runner who is lost during the play.  Danielle Rabinovitch is the combative Annia, and Tamar Shai, as Evelyn, reveals her impressive range as an actress.  Shelly Wozniak performs the more interesting character of the group, detective Sharon O’Malley and this character is the one that will surprise you.  There doesn’t appear to be anyone who can play the sad and victimized characters quite as well as Jill Sowerwine; she’s made an art out of it and, it needs to be said, Ms Sowerwine is never boring in playing roles that can so often have a narrow range to them.  In a word, Sowerwine’s treatment of the runner Jolianne is impressive.

The audio is not always Cyrano’s best asset, as the speakers don’t always deliver a clean sound.   The Italian Voice Over and Translation, as presented by Ulises Solano, was not very helpful except to make some of us regret not doing better with a second language in school.  The single set concept by Carrie Yanagawa worked well for the play.  The jade green floor, the ‘Verdi’ in the dialogue, and the operatic selections from Giuseppe Verdi (Joe Green) were all very entertaining.

This is a play that is well on its way.   Sans the rough edges, Come to Me, Leopards is a meaningful theatre piece.


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