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The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek

Oasis Productions is staging "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek" directed by Patrica McKee in the intimate Rose Firebay of the John Waldron Arts Center. The play is by MacArthur fellow Naomi Wallace.

An earlier Oasis production presented Wallace's "One Flea Spare." In "One Flea..." the plague in seventeenth century London is the key ingredient. The quarantine keeps some people in and some people out of a home. It also puts the home's inhabitants at the mercy of one another and of their suppliers.

"The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek" is set in 1936 in a small town outside an urban area. Again we have trapped people. The plague for these characters is the depression. In the devastated economy there is little or no work–no way to rise above bare subsistence and no way to get out. Pope Lick's inhabitants are as trapped as the residents of Wallace's plague house in " One Flea..."

Diane Kondrat and Mark G. McIntyre play a particularly devastated couple. McIntyre's character has been terribly injured in an earlier industrial accident. He's become unable to leave the house and his sole occupation is making shadow animals on the house's wall by the light of a candle. Kondrat is still functioning and getting up and going to work, but it's work that is turning her hands a permanent fluorescent blue that's probably fatal.

Their shy teenaged son is played by Nick Mills. Mill's character is a dutiful student and dreams of leaving town to go to college, but as a friend says: "People without money to buy shoes, don't have money to pay for college."

The person who beats wings the hardest on the walls of the cage of "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek" is Anna Ardizzone's character. The young tom boy takes a fancy to Mill's character, but is continually tempting and testing him in some pretty dangerous and peculiar ways. She has the energy for struggle, but is even more poisoned than everyone else by the town and its times.

Rounding out the cast was the only one in "Pope Lick" with a certain steady job. Timothy Herron played the county jail keeper.

The Oasis Production is a solid presentation of this strangely attractive and repellent drama. Under Patricia McKee's direction there are really solid performances by everyone in an outstanding cast. Moments of magic, many a bit mysterious, some a little erotic, and some a little frightening, occur with regularity.

You can see this and other WFIU theatre, film and opera reviews on our web site at WFIU dot Indiana dot edu.

The Oasis Productions run of Naomi Wallace's "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek" at the Rose Firebay in the Waldron Arts Center wraps up with two performances on Saturday, one at five and one at eight.

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