Stick Fly, by Lydia R. Diamond, which opened at last night at SVSU, centers around the wealthy LeVay family as they vacation at their Martha’s Vineyard home. The two sons each bring home their significant others (an African-American Entomologist fiancée who is the forgotten daughter of a famous writer, and the “Italian” girlfriend who works with inner-city school children) to meet their family. The two ladies spend much of their time disputing the points of race and privilege, which gets an additional perspective when the daughter of their long-time maid is thrown into the mix.
I am so glad I saw this play. Director Tommy Wedge and assistant director LynJenae Twyman staged an interesting and thoughtful production. With the exception of a couple of odd exits and a few outdoor scenes that seemed distracting in the forefront, the stage was used expertly. The use of levels, characters crossing with intention, and actors playing actions while they speak, kept our interest riveted.
The moment Joshua Lloyd, playing the father, took the stage I knew we were in for a treat. His natural way, and his grounded intelligence reads fatherly; and it is obvious he put in the work to layer his character. It can sometimes stand out like a sore thumb when theatres age young actors to play older, but this didn’t bother me one bit. Joshua was believable from start to finish and was a joy to watch.
The diction of most of the actors was difficult to understand for a good portion of act one and two of the characters seemed a tad uncomfortable in their bodies at the beginning. However, every actor in the show had moments they shone and by act two the diction had improved and they had all settled into a pretty smooth groove.
Donte Green, as the over confident plastic surgeon brother was perfectly cast. He was charismatic, physically comfortable in every move he made and had great chemistry with his on-stage girlfriend, Kimber, skillfully played by actress Tristian Evanoff.
I was impressed to discover that the actress portraying Cheryl (the maid’s daughter) is a senior in high school. She was impressive, especially for someone her age. She may have needed a bit more of a wind up before some of her dramatic moments in the show, but some of the more experienced actors did too, and her effortless comedic moments really stood out. She could get a laugh from a look. Trinity Caldwell is one to keep an eye on in the future.
Costumes were designed by Jennifer Lothian and sound design was by Katie Godell. The lighting design by Jacob Kaufman was subtle but clever. My particular favorite moment was the lightly shadowed window panes that complimented the beginning of the play when an actress mimes opening curtains on the invisible wall. The asymmetrical scenic design by Jerry Dennis was modern, detailed, functional, and just plain cool to look at.
Overall, there is enough honesty and heart in this show to make me want more, and I cannot think of a better compliment. This is good storytelling and is a show that deserves to be seen. The show continues to play this whole weekend: Thursday, Friday, Sat at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3:00pm. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at (989) 964-4261