Entertainment » Theatre

Acting couple return to Trinity for new play

by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Oct 15, 2009

Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson will star in Trinity Repertory Company's production of Steven Dietz's bittersweet comedy Shooting Star. The show opens in previews on October 16 and runs through November 22.

For Rhoads and Williamson, the show marks their return to the world of Rhode Island theatre after a 15-year absence. The couple has appeared in 54 plays together and relish the opportunity to bring Dietz's play to life.

Rhoads and Williamson appeared onstage at Trinity Rep from 1991 until 1994 in such plays as Prelude to a Kiss, The Heidi Chronicles, Mrs. Sedgewick's Head, Dancing at Lughnasa and A Christmas Carol.

Rekindling the flame

In Shooting Star, Rhoads and Williamson portray two ex-lovers, Reed McAllister and Elena Carson, who meet unexpectedly in a snow-bound airport somewhere in the Midwest. Twenty years earlier, they thought themselves soul mates, and yet, eventually lost touch with each other over the years. Sharing stories deep into the night, they discover who they’ve become as they recall who they were.

"She’s sort of like a hippie that never quite grew up," Williamson said of Elena.

"It’s a reunion of people who were very intimate 25 years in the past and a kind of a reassessment of where they’re at now so they see if there’s anything they can rekindle," said Rhoads. "It makes you think of what could’ve been and what should’ve been."

The story’s theme of reconnecting with people from the past appealed to Williamson.

"You think about the people you were really close to, that you’re not anymore," Williamson said. "Especially if your life is rocky at the moment and you think: ’I should’ve figured out how to go down that path instead of the path I went down.’"

Rhoads said his character also possesses the same type of regret and sadness about the way his life turned out.

"(Reed) has made a number of concessions and compromises," Rhoads observed. "He has a marriage that’s failing, he has a daughter he’s not connecting to."

Being a couple in real life has allowed Rhoads and Williamson to really delve into their characters’ personas and make them into fully dimensional human beings. Having worked together for so long has given both actors a genuine respect for the other’s abilities.

"We were both kids fresh out of school when we met and got married," Williamson recalled. "Our idea of what theatre is and our idea of how to be married kind of braided together in a way."

"Nance is a great comedienne so I kind of feel very confident that she will pull something humorous," Rhoads said. "I trust that she’s A-OK out there."

Rhoads and Williamson are pleased to be performing again in such a familiar venue.

"It’s great to be back," Williamson added.

Director Fred Sullivan, Jr. helmed the 2007 production of A Christmas Carol for Trinity and has been a resident director at The Gamm Theatre for 14 seasons.

Continuing this season is a unified curtain time of 7:30 PM for all evening performances. Regular performances start at 7:30 pm on Tuesday through Sundays with selected Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2pm. The first performance on September 11 at 7:30PM is Pay What You Can (PWYC). PWYC tickets go on sale at 6:30 pm, limit one per person. This season Trinity Rep has responded to these economic times by continuing to offer $20 discounted seating. Additional discounted and rush tickets are also available, call box office for details.

Tickets are on sale now at the Trinity Rep box office, 201 Washington Street; by phone at (401)-351-4242; and online at www.trinityrep.com.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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