Leduc Drama Society
A Review by David MacKenzie
They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. They say that everyone has a breaking point and that life can push any of us far past it. The genius of Spirit Control is showing how fragile and vulnerable our humanity can be.
The Leduc Drama society’s latest production takes the audience on an intense and gripping ride that collides, head on, with the stark realities of life. In doing so, Spirit Control distinguishes itself as being the most engaging and dramatically meaningful Leduc Drama production that I have ever attended. The play, written by Beau Willimon and directed by Leduc’s Cyndi Wagner, is of a more serious and dramatic genre than some of their other productions, and the change was welcome and appreciated.
What was it that made the production so special? Certainly, the story of the play is an emotional one, involving the tragedy of death. The story also focused on the very real tragedy of the destruction of a survivor’s psyche. But what really made the play special for me was the level of intensity of the performances by the cast.
Larry Rutherford, who played Adam, the air traffic controller, was absolutely incredible. All I can say is - wow! As an audience member, I could not help but intensely feel the agony of his traumatized and tortured soul. Alone and misunderstood, he faced a loss and a sorrow which could neither be fathomed nor healed.
The other actors, as well, gave excellent performances. Lyndon Anderson, who played Maxine, was beautiful, haunting and absolutely perfect. Adam’s gentle and loving wife, Jessica, was played by Becki Comly. She somehow reminded me a bit of the character, Melanie, from Gone with The Wind. Jessica’s meltdown, at the suggestion that Adam was having an affair, was as real, as real can be.
One of the things I noticed, and appreciated about all the actors, was that they would look directly into the eyes of the audience, as though speaking right to them. Live theatre is always more engaging and this made it even more so.
Gus Kochan, who previously appeared in On Golden Pond, played Tommy, Adam’s son. He was powerful and disturbing in portraying a deep resentment at his father. Cliff Smith was Karl, Adam’s co-worker, and David Newton played the FAA agent. Both these actors are veterans with Leduc Drama and both gave solid performances. They were like prisms through which the audience could perceive different reflections of Adam’s profound pathos.
Overall, the amount of raw, emotional energy exuded by the actors of this play surpassed any other Drama Society productions I have seen. In addition, Spirit Control was very entertaining. The Leduc Drama Society deserves full marks for the achievement. Take in Spirit Control if you can!