Sunrise in my Pocket, an American folk drama originally written by Edwin Justus Mayer, but adapted by Jeffrey Hayden for the Playmakers Repertory Company recounts the epic adventure of Davy Crockett, Tennessee statesman and frontiersman and his subsequent journey to Texas. Davy Crockett, portrayed effortlessly by Playmaker's leading actor, Kenneth P. Strong, is accompanied by his faithful companion, Crawling Caterpillar, the gallant ex-pirate Hardin, the woman hating Thimblerig, and the man-hating Annie; each part was played respectfully by Douglas Spain, Mike Regan, Jeffrey Blair Cornell, and Jamie Rose.
The success of Jeffrey Hayden's production should be attributed to the talented cast and their professional zeal that was evident in each individual performance. The main plot, the actual journey and the carefully woven sub-plots, between for example Thimblerig and Annie became the foundation for fun-loving adventure and perhaps in the imagination of the audience greater adventure upon arrival in the Texas.
The audience and thus the play greatly benefited from the use of the thrust stage, extending beyond the proscenium arch, the stage was surrounded on three sides by the audience. The thrust stage moved the action into the crowd; the audience became an extra, part of the play, no longer an audience removed, but an audience part. The stage was also raked, or maintained a permanent slope atop a level auditorium floor. The sloped stage increased the effectiveness of the thrust stage, further projecting the action into the audience.
The task of simulating the American frontier was given to scene designer Narelle Sissons and lighting designer Mary Louise Geiger. Sissons created a beautifully naked set, backed by a grove of trees that was brought to life by Geiger's gentle moonbeams, water reflections, and campfire light. Not nearly as empty as Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot; however, both sets allow the imagination to improvise and individually...
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