Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stormchasing among friends at Stormfield Theatre

October 31, 2010
By Susan G. Parcheta
“I’m playful; I use the meridians of longitude and the parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales. I scratch my head with lightening and purr myself to sleep with the thunder.” – Mark Twain

  “I like the sound of it: “Be a stormchaser at Stormfield,” Kristine Thatcher told the audience at the last weekend performance in October of mid-Michigan’s newest professional theater, Stormfield, which she founded in Lansing, MI.  Thatcher is artistic director at Stormfield Theatre (located in the Frandor Shopping Center at 201 Morgan Lane). So, with that request, I’m out passing the word along, to be a stormchaser at Stormfield.

Being among friends, enjoying the theatre’s first big production, Among Friends, was delightful. The play, written and directed by Thatcher, came alive with the three-man cast: local Equity actors John Lepard and Aral Gribble, as well as Bill Bannon from Chicago.

Thatcher’s script, Among Friends, is the story of three longtime friends, Dan (Lepard) who is  a real estate developer, Will (Bannon) who is a school teacher, and Matt (Gribble),  an appliance salesman at Sears.

Encore Michigan,  in a review, outlines the story well:
“Dan is by far the most successful of the three and appears to be a model citizen. But when Will surreptitiously discovers the lionized Dan cheating at cards, he decides to explore exactly how deeply the rot goes. Both funny and poignant, Among Friends plumbs the nature of friendship and the jealousy and resentment that sometimes lie just beneath the surface.

My husband and I, along with our friends, were familiar with Lepard, who is also director of the Williamston Theatre, which previously held the title for the newest professional theatre in mid-Michigan, having been founded in 2006.   We’d followed Lepard’s career there, and had seen Gribble in a production there.
Thatcher couldn’t have had three better actors for the roles of the three friends. We came away, transfixed, to put it boldly.

Among the four of us, Among Friends was instantly rated: Thumbs up!  For anyone who’s struggled with keeping an even keel in relationships with friends, Thatcher’s play is eye-opening, and enlightening.  And all three performances made it so.