ENDURANCE -- A Must See by a New Company

By Bob and Karen Isaacs

One of the best things about being a theater critic, is when you see an inventive stimulating work told in a theatrical way. When it is done by a small theater company, it is even more exciting.

That is what I experienced at Long Wharf's Stage II when I saw Endurance which running through June 29. All true theater goers owe it to themselves to see this production.

Endurance is presented by the Split Knuckle Theater -- that began with four graduate school friends in England. It now hopes to make its home in New Haven.

Playwright Nick Ryan has created a fascinating work -- the title comes from the book about the British Antarctic explore Shackleton who kept his company of men alive during a grueling journey. But the Shakcleton reference is related to modern day corporate America.

Walter Spivey is one of four men who work for a major insurance company that is undergoing hard times during the recent recession. All are afraid of losing their jobs as the company flounders. Spivey is named a manager but has no idea how to lead his men or to achieve the near impossible goals that management has set for them. He happens upon the Shackleton book and we go back forth between Shackleton's adversities and Spivey's developing leadership skills.

The four-member cast is outstanding.They combine fine acting and playing multiple roles with exquisite use of their bodies. The entire production is an ensemble work-- no director is listed.

I left the theater after this 90 minute intermission-less work exhilarated by how inspiring truly good theater can be.

Make it a point to see Endurance by the Split Knuckle Theater at Long Wharf's Stage II before June 29.

This review aired on WNHU-FM, 88.7 and www.wnhu.net.


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