“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” John Steinbeck
The story takes place in the living room of an isolated house in the wild where Jim has moved his family in hopes of starting a new life. It is country which is also frequented by wild dogs.
The writer (Bill Holland) has created a fascinating story filled with complex characters and provided each with natural, believable dialogue. There are, however, events that are puzzling. One such event is a violent fight scene in which Jim attacks his wife. Yet following the blackout, which appears to be a few days later, she appears without a scratch. Was it a dream?
Mark Cirnigliaro as director has done an exemplary job at bringing the writing to life. The characters and situations never fail to keep the undivided attention of the audience. Particularly notable is the parallel drawn between Jim and the wild dogs. All is enhanced by the often ominous music and sound provided by (Matt Bittner).
The cast is excellent. All five have developed strong and unique characters, all with demons of their own. Jim, the father (Christopher LaPanta) is a recovering alcoholic and staunch believer in the moral and ethical power of war and the validity of killing. The mother, Mary (Margaret Curry) has an undiscovered secret. The two brothers, Larry (Justin Hofstad) and Robert (Patrick Massey) have opposing views of life and how it should be lived. One follows the military views of his father and is in basic training and the other is a gentler soul who follows no one. Still, despite constant conflict the brothers share a strong bond of love. Jim’s hunting buddy Henry (Tony Head) must deal with what may be inappropriate feelings.
There are, perhaps, an over abundance of fight scenes. It seems at times that the audience can anticipate the next battle rather than it growing organically out of the situation and dialogue and happening without expectation. However, the fight choreographer (Joseph Pisapia) has accomplished what can only be called a miracle. Working in a very limited space he has created totally believable fights without, apparently, wounding anyone.
Photos by Wee Man Productions:
1. Christopher LaPanta, Margaret Curry, Justin Hofstad & Patrick Massey
2. Patrick Massey & Margaret Curry
3. Justin Hofstad & Patrick Massey
The limited run ends on April 5, with performances Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre is located at 312 West 36th and tickets can be purchased by calling 800-838-3006.
The Hounds of War
Produced by Wee Man Productions, Nicole Beerman, Producer