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The Time Traveler’s Wife, Wordshed Productions’ latest literary adaptation, is Lauren Shouse’s narrative adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s best-selling novel, which tells a highly complicated story of love and loss. This intriguing work in progress, which closes tonight and needs a lot of polishing to be successful as a full-length drama, also features a pleasant original score by musical director Shannon O’Neill.
Lauren Shouse, who assumes the dual role of adapter and director of the piece, employs projections with the date and the two main characters’ ages at that time to keep the audience straight as Henry DeTamble (played by Allen Maule and Frank Gallagher) travels back and forth in time to visit his wife Clare Abshire (Sarah Looney), starting in 1977 when he is 36 and she is six. The problem is, reading all these projections dissipates dramatic intensity. Although the plot is complicated, and might be impossible to follow without the guidance of the overhead screen, I found myself comparing slides to see if the ages were consistent with the years cited; and I’m sure I’m not the only one to get sidetracked in that manner.
Allen Maule and Frank Gallagher are personable as Henry at different ages; and Sarah Looney does a nice job of portraying Clare as a child, as a teenager, as a college student and, ultimately, as a concerned wife and mother whose husband comes and goes at unpredictable intervals.
Cristina Garcia and especially Southey Blanton are good as Clare’s friends Charisse and Gomez, Sally Gold plays Time (the show’s narrator) with appropriate gravity, and Dan Steele impersonates multiple characters with lots of personality.
Let’s hope that director/playwright Lauren Shouse has made the necessary adjustments by the time The Time Traveler’s Wife returns.
Wordshed Productions presents The Time Traveler’s Wife Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. in Studio 6 Theater in Swain Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. $7 ($5 students, seniors, and UNC faculty and staff). 919/932-5829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Wordshed Productions: http://www.unc.edu/wordshed/. The Time Traveler’s Wife: http://www.harcourtbooks.com/bookcatalogs/ bookpage.asp?isbn= 015602943X&option= excerpt [inactive 10/06].
The Time Traveler's Wife (Wordshed Productions, 8 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7, 7 p.m. Oct. 8, 2 p.m. Oct. 9, and 7 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11 in Studio 6 Theater in
Swain Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a narrative adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's best-selling novel, adapted and directed by Lauren Shouse, with musical direction and original score by Shannon O'Neill. For more information, visit http://www.unc.edu/wordshed/. Note: There will be a preview at 8 p.m. Oct. 5th. For tickets, telephone 919/932-5829 or e-mail email@example.com.