Reach For The Moon.Great poet and eternal friend, Collin Kelley and I attended the Saturday night performance at 7 Stages Theatre's production of "Reach For The Moon", starring the always surprising Kodac Harrison.This is a world-premiere, and Del Hamilton, artistic director of 7 Stages, ably directed this tale using elements of dance, spoken word, and of course--it stars Kodac Harrison, after all--poetry and music!
SPOILER ALERT: I reveal quite a bit about the play in this review.If you want to go in "fresh", just scroll to bottom of page for TICKET INFO! And GO! to this show!
Kodac's poetry and spoken word skills are legendary, as is his music. For several years now, he has hosted the Sunday night "Java Monkey Speaks" Open Mic, in Decatur at Java Monkey Coffee House which features well-known and upcoming poets as guest readers, while allowing newbies and veterans alike to read a few minutes of their own work. So I am quite aware of Kodac's skills on guitar, songwriting and writing poetry, singing, and doing spoken word.It was delightful to see Kodac as an actor in a role that appears to be at once both autobiographical(the narration about his father is absolutely heartbreaking, without being "sentimental") and creative ("Rudy", an alter-ego).
Director Del Hamilton obviously was able to get the truth of Kodac's vast experiences translated into a theatrical experience(this was not merely a "play", but an experience--we feel as though we are participating), and Kodac's story--a very specific one-- became a sort of everyman-coming-of-age-and-beyond-story.(Aristotle said "The specific to the universal"(microcosm-to-the macrocosm).Which means the more specific, and detailed a story is, the more it will apply, universally. This is what makes art, art.)
Nick Longo on sax was amazing. His tender, almost mournful notes set the stage(so to speak!) for an equally tender evening. He also was able to burst into big notes of joy when the song/mood/scenario called for it.
Kristin Markiton, who played romantic lead to Kodac's alter-ego, appeared to be channeling(in a wonderful way) Maggie the Cat, from "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof"(in the first act, Ms. Markiton gives new meaning to the word lingerie--in particular, a lovely slip).
You'll find yourself transported into the pathos of "Hotel 17"("...life is a dream, at 17...life is obscene, at 17..."), you are lifted into the high energy of "Never Can Tell", and devastated by both the lyrics and the slow, yielding, and at times, prayer-like movements of the dancers(Erin Weller, Blake Dalton).
The use of dance was particularly inspired; it added yet another layer to the music and words.Both Ms. Weller and Mr. Dalton are strong, lithe dancers with tremedous sex appeal and equally tremedous energy. Their rapid flutterings and joyous leaps in the happier moments of "Reach For The Moon" are stunning.
In "We Fly", Kristin Markiton's considerable vocal skills and strong acting talent supports the anguish we see, etched on Kodac's face.The level of despair you feel reaches a searing white-hot level, as the lyrics in "We Fly" contains echoes of September 11th, and yet this piece is much larger than that one tragedy. "We Fly" is both a dirge, and a song of salvation.
The use of a digital video-recorder in one sequence was extremely effective in juxtaposing what we(as audience) see(with our own two eyes) vs. what we're "directed" to see (the world, the specific situations) through the lead character's(Kodac's alter-ego) eyes. So often, we "see" the world through a "lens"(television, computer, YouTube, etc..), and here we see it both ways--our naked eyes, seeing the world deconstructed, and through what the lens wants us to see--a "constructed" world. This raises a viable question: Which is the reality?
The show built to a strong finish, which is saying something, given how many strong pieces were presented throughout!
Definitely a DO!
Your last chance To see this show:
SUNDAY(Easter Sunday).After the jelly beans, and brunch, head over to Atlanta's Little Five Points, to 7 Stages.The show starts at 5:00 P.M....Plan to arrive around 4:30 P.M....The Box Office:(404) 523-7647