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TERMINUS–a play which indulges the author’s inner 16-year-old self compels at convergence-continuum

Roy Berko

(Member, American Theatre Critics Association, Cleveland Critics Circle)

“The story is told in verse, densely packed with rhyme, which has to be spoken so that it sounds like natural language.“  “Much of the play concerns a battle between angels and demons.”  “There is little action in the play, just a series of monologues.”  The descriptions are vivid, “fingernails pierce an eyeball and drain it of fluid, a knife slices into a woman while she’s having sex.  A body implodes beneath the tires of a truck.”  “The play is filled with vivid, vulgar verse.”

Most theatre’s artistic directors, reading those descriptions, wouldn’t even conceive of producing such a script.  But fear not local theater-goers looking for the unusual in the theatre, know that Clyde Simon, the chief guru of congruence-continuum, is turned on by such imagery.  He knows that his niche audience will flock through the doors of his postage stamp-sized theatre to see how he stages such visuals as a police chase of a stolen truck, the sex and beating scenes, and an attempted abortion with a pointed broom handle.

Irish writer Mark O’Rowe, who is noted for writing about thugs and lowlifes who have fits of savagery, has penned “Terminus,” a vivid play in which all of the action takes place in the theatre-goer’s imagination, rather than on stage.  In other words, he has written a movie script for the listener’s mind.

He does this by using vivid language to create the imagery.   Rather than dialogue, which places the actions on stage between people, he has his three actors speak monologues directly to the audience, forcing the listener to take the words and experience them.

Why the monologues?  O’Rowe says, ““The monologue is somewhere in the middle of theater, stand-up, and the novel.  You can’t look away, because everything that’s said is already inside your head.’’

Why this story and format?  The author states, ““The truest thing I can say is I’m indulging my inner 16-year-old, who loves films about blowing [stuff] up,’’

The storyline centers on three people, “A,” “B” and “C.”  “A” is a former teacher who is now working on a suicide hotline.  She is a mother who is estranged from her daughter.  “B” is a young pregnant girl, who is in the clutches of a powerful lesbian pimp.  “C” is a murderous, socially incompetent male psychopath, who has seemingly made a deal with the devil.

The trio’s lives intersect in a series of violent confrontations.

While on the hotline, “A” receives a call from a former student who is threatening to abort her 9-month fetus.  When she turns into a sleuth in order to track the young lady down, she ends up dipping her toe into the gritty Dublin underworld of lesbian gangs, abortions in backroom bars, physical beatings, and death.

Lucy Bredeson was born to play “A.”  She gives a vivid, performance.  Her eyes flashing, she tells her part of the tale in a direct, flat tone that is chilling!

Rachel Lee Kolis portrays “B,” telling her part of the tale consisting of searched after affection, and a near-death encounter with an otherworldly creature, with attention-demanding clarity.

Dana Hart, portrays “C,” an oddball with no conscience, who has supposedly sold his soul to the devil.  He is often compelling in his tall telling. Unfortunately, on opening night, some of the power of his last scene was diminished by some line stumbles.

Jim Smith’s set design, a series of three-step platforms on different parts of the stage, a modified crane, and graffiti covered walls, works well, as does Jeremy Allen’s music choices, which underlie many of the scenes.

Dialect coach, Chuck Richie, has masterfully perfected each of the actor’s Irish lilts.

Capsule Judgement:   Though compelling, “Terminus” is definitely not a play for everyone.  The language is rough, the vivid descriptions often unnerving, and the closeness of the actors to the audience can be off-putting.  On the other hand, the performances, the experience of listening to the impressive poetic writing, and the opportunity to experience intense emotional involvement, may stir the right audience to attend.

“Terminus” runs through December 20, 2014 at 8 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at convergence-continuum’s artistic home, The Liminis, at 2438 Scranton Rd. in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. For information and reservations call 216-687-0074 or go to