In Nimbus's Theaters latest show a tale of greek tragedy finds itself playing out in New Orleans near the end of the reconstruction era. I nearly always try to say yes to seeing work by Nimbus theater, their method of creating theater is quite unique. Josh Cragun is the playwright for this and many of their past shows, but the their process is very collaborative and the subject matter is different than I see in most theaters.
This is true once again with The River Becomes Sea, a new work inspired by the Bacchae that takes place in New Orleans. The story is centered around a family who has long called New Orleans its home. The family, including a long estranged sister/daughter has returned for a speaking engagement at a fundraiser and a son seems to be incensed by the changes that the Civil War has brought are all coming together for a ball to benefit a local orphanage and meanwhile the flood waters are rising.
On a grander scale it is a story about the folly of pride in a changing world. Among all the Christmas stories playing in theaters around town this season, it is nice change of pace and appropriate for these times. As the country is still adjusting to the results of the midterms, certain political parties are making grabs towards power, and we watch the news daily for updates in the Mueller investigation this story of pride seems very well timed.
The story is brought to life by thoughtful performances by the entire cast, comprised of Jon Stentz, Sarah Broude, Richard D Woods, Heidi Berg, Nicole Goeden and Lana Bean. The set design by Ursula K Bowden was absolutely beautiful and set the stage into New Orleans beautifully. It was also wonderfully used by lighting designer Mitchell Frazier and Sound Designer Corinna Knepper Troth.
The show is a 90 minute no intermission set up, which is normally my favorite, but this story left me wanting more. I almost wish that the 90 minutes that the audience sees was condensed and then followed by a second act. Avoiding spoilers I will just say that the end of the play leaves me wanting to know what happens next. Although there is a nice epilogue that is delivered I found myself wanting to see what happened next, not just hear what happened next.
The River Becomes Sea is a show worth seeing if you are wanting a break from the traditional holiday shows this season and are looking for a thoughtful and reflective piece. The River Becomes Sea plays at the Crane Theater through December 16th. Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets.