Aug 10, 2018
Once again we find ourselves wallowing in the dog days of summer. On top of the heat, the smoke from a not too distant fire hangs ever-present in the eastern sky. So, if you’re feeling in need of a lift, head over to Cloverdale Performing Arts Center to see Heroes, aptly described as “a poignant comedy about the human spirit.”
Heroes was written by Gerald Sibleyras in 2003 and translated into English in 2007 by Tom Stoppard. The action, or possibly inaction, takes place in a care home for elderly veterans somewhere in France. Director Yave Guzman has made the wise choice of not having the actors affect French or English accents. This gives the play a more inclusive feel. These men could be living in France, America or Moldova, for all it matters; the themes are universal.
It’s August, 1959, as the play begins and three WWI veterans pass the time on their sunny terrace. If the residents are not feeling depressed enough about their circumstances, the view from there is of a cemetery. Henri (Peter Immordino,) Gustave(Robert Bauer,)and Philippe (Dale Harriman)while away the hours reading, arguing, and making sport of other residents and staff.
This trio displays an immediate synergy, whereby the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Most of the time, all three characters are on the stage, often in their usual seats. When one of them is absent, something vital seems missing.
As the play progresses, we learn more about these men and the lives they’ve lived. While there is something of a plot, the real story and tension is in the interactions and revelations of the three friends. There is actually a fourth character in this play, but I’ll let you discover who that is for yourselves.
Yave Guzman’s set is a well-tended garden terrace, rather upscale. We don’t feel these men are in some shoddy dump. Their material needs are taken care of with clean efficiency. Costume supervisor Alice Gulley does a similar job with dressing the characters. They all look fine and dandy, no missing buttons or frayed cuffs.
On paper, Heroes might sound a bit depressing: three old men trapped in a rest home, sitting around talking about their past glories. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The dialog is intelligent and witty. There is hope and promise in their lives despite circumstances. If that’s not enough to decide it for you, the theater has a great air conditioning system to help you escape the heat!
Running August 10, 11. 17 and 18 at 7:30pm; August 12 and 19 at 2pm.
Suggested audience high school and older.
Students $12 Adults $25
Cloverdale Performing Arts Center
201 Commercial St, Cloverdale, CA 95425
Photos by John Gobeille
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