Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Sweet 'Ah, Wilderness' at Asolo Rep | Play Delivers Family Experience at Turn of 20th Century

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Sweet 'Ah, Wilderness' at Asolo Rep | Play Delivers Family Experience at Turn of 20th Century

Article excerpt

THEATER REVIEW

The cast, director and__ designers of Eugene__ O'Neill's light comedy "Ah,__ Wilderness!" at Asolo Repertory__ Theatre really take__ you back to a simpler time.__ It takes only a brief__ glimpse of Steven C.__ Kemp's set, a suggestion__ of a wood-frame house__ made from only a few__ choice pieces of wood, to__ feel you're in the Connecticut__ home of the Miller__ family on a warm July 4,__ 1906 weekend. Costume__ designer Tracy Dorman__ enhances the feeling with__ her attractively buttoned-up__ look (even in July, the__ men wear warm-looking__ vested suits) for a family__ that will experience a holi-day__ that is both eventful__ and also rather ordinary in__ the bigger scheme of things.__ And the cast, working__ under director Greg Leaming,__ does its part to reveal__ the more dominant place__ of men at the time and the__ increasing ways women get__ around that.__ It's a major time for__ 17-year-old Richard__ Miller, who is bursting into__ manhood. He's moody,__ intelligent and well-read__ but mostly he's in love with__ Muriel McCumber, whose__ father doesn't approve__ of the progressive and__ authority- defiant poems__ he shares with the girl. Dick__ is worried about losing her__ and all his future plans with__ Muriel, but then he threa-ens__ them further with some__ unexpectedly wild activi- ties.__ He is a teenager after__ all. Richard is played in a__ charmingly earnest style by__ FSU/Asolo Conservatory__ student Tom Harney, who__ really makes you believe__ he's 17, full of ideas and__ melancholy, excitement__ and fear. He's ready to__ change the world but bows__ to tradition and showing__ respect to his loving and__ supportive parents.__ He's fun to watch as he__ tries to keep up drink for__ drink with a far more experienced__ woman played in a__ lightly brazen style by Lisa__ Egan Woods, but there's__ nothing more joyful than__ watching his emotional and__ intellectual contradictions__ come forth with awkward__ beauty when he gets__ to share a few treasured__ moments with the lovely__ Lilianna Solum as Muriel. …

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