Jaefinn Carr debuts as Director in Carpenter Square’s “Lady” by Craig Wright. “Lady” is a drama about three long term buddies who meet for a hunting trip regularly. In the intervening years the three have gone in completely different directions in their lives and philosophies. Although there is an underlying sense that ultimately, in old age, the friendships will survive, the three are hard pressed to find common ground as they face the tragedies of life.
All of the action takes place in the woods as they half-heartedly seek their prey, the elusive woodcock. One of the characters has brought a hunting dog to point the birds, and the dog, Lady, is clearly a beloved family pet as well as a hunting partner. James Tyra portrays Kenny, Lady’s master, Michael Gibbons plays Dyson the hot-headed businessman and Rob May is Graham, the successful politician returning home for the hunt (and some home turf speaking engagements) as well as visiting. As the three gather for old times’ sake they must confront many of the most terrible aspects of adulthood as they are emotionally returning to the young men they once were. They work to resolve their differences with limited success, but ultimately they draw the strength to confront their fears.
Rob May’s portrayal of Graham is outstanding as usual. He is forceful enough to buy his own rhetoric. Michael Gibbons shows us the passionate strength of the usually reserved hard working businessman. James Tyra shows us the sensitive side as he internalizes his struggle with the illness of his wife – a cancer that is ultimately going to destroy his family, as well as the strength he needs to endure.
The set, designed by Caleb Schnackenberg is beautiful and looks very natural. The lighting design by Leslie Currell enhances the stage beautifully. Carr, as a novice director, has a great deal of natural understanding and this skill is proven invaluable in “Lady”; however, he lacks experience in fine-tuning with staging. There are a few places calling for sensitive reactions on the part of the character yet those moments are obscured by stage business.
“Lady” is a well-constructed piece that causes reflection and introspection. The cast acquit themselves nicely and the audience is afforded most of the moments that connect the characters to the viewer. Gibbons, Tyra and especially May bring a sense of duality to their roles that makes the show quite believable.
For the run of the show, Carpenter Square adds a nice ambience with a lobby display of works by a local artist. Gary Bates has a beautiful style in mixed media and his work is powerful and enduring. Bates shows at Contemporary Art Gallery is in the Paseo District of Oklahoma City.
“Lady” plays through November 10, 2012 at Carpenter Square. The new space is located at 800 West Main in downtown Oklahoma City. For ticket information call 405-232-6500 or visit on line at carpentersquare.com.