by Adam Horvath
The Ridgefield Theater Barn encourages its audience to consider how we view our own bodies, and those of others, with its current production of Body Awareness.
With an adept use of space and set design, director Maryann Arcoleo-Koltun immerses the viewer in the close and intimate corners of a family home. While the play engages with the lives of psychologist, teacher and artist alike as all are exposed to questions of art, sexuality, acceptance, and taboo, there is no question that this production is able to magnify the personal characteristics of each private conversation, and the individual work of each individual performer.
Rosemary Howard, as the psychologist Phyllis, and Amber Mason, as the teacher Joyce, both lend to the production with their vigorous character convictions, and their emotional investment in the lives and perspectives of their respective roles. As both Phyllis and Joyce disagree over the work of the photographer Frank, Rosemary and Amber galvanize their roles with credible depictions of the conflicts and impassioned remarks of the featured couple.
David Fritsch, as the photographer Frank, also enhances the production with his subtle physicality, his penchant for comedic moments, and the ease in which he collaborates with his fellow actors in each of his scenes. In particular however, Ryan Wenke, as Joyce’s son Jared, is nothing short of masterful in his embodiment of his character.
As a young man struggling to recognize his own challenges and needs, Ryan completely reinvents himself with laudable characterization and an incredible transformation from how his audience may have seen him before in prior roles.
Nonetheless, all of the actors in this production bolster each other with their combined efforts, enhancing their collective effort, and ensuring a strong appreciation for all of those who enjoy this play, as written by Annie Baker.
(Editor’s note: Body Awareness runs through June 24 at the Ridgefield Theater Barn, 37 Halpin Lane. Of the play that premiered Off-Broadway in 2008, The New York Times said: “An engaging new comedy by a young playwright with a probing, understated voice…Its quiet rewards steal up on you.” Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays, June 11 and 18, at 5 p.m. Tickets: $24 adults, $20 seniors (62), students, veterans at ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org. Info: 203-431-9850.)