Cincinnati’s best off-off-Broadway playhouse, the Know Theatre, opens its 13th season with the intimate, advant-garde play, Skin Tight. Written by New Zealand playwright Gary Henderson and directed by Drew Fracher, the show runs through October 30, 2010.
Skin Tight tells the story of a rural New Zealand couple, Tom and Elizabeth, who relive their love story on stage. From its opening moments, Skin Tight grabs the audience and leads them through a frenzied, passionate dance that refuses to let go. The performance is a heady mix of touching, romantic prose spoken by the duo, coupled with bouts of physical activity: fighting, wrestling, dancing, and loving gestures. The show toes the line between the reality of the couple’s situation and the way they see and view each other.
Director Drew Fracher says, “A friend gave me Skin Tight, knowing my penchant for action and stage combat and suggest that I might like the play. I felt that the Know was the only place in town that fit the style and content best. Thankfully, producing artistic director Eric [Vosmeier] felt the same way. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to work on such an amazing, theatrical piece.”
Veteran Equity actor Jens Rasmussen (Tom) and local theatre starlet Beth Harris (Elizabeth) commandeer their audience’s attention from the get go. With believable accents and even more convincing love and care for each other, these two actors reveal the inner workings of a relationship that has stood the test of time. From juvenile taunts to real fears and honest wounds, the chemistry between the two on stage draws the viewer in and invites them to experience the same feelings. Their raw, emotional portrayal of a very real, intimate relationship – the combination of trust, pain, passion, laughter, anger, fear, hope – reduced many in the audience to tears by the end of the show.
The sets and lighting, designed by Andrew Hungerford, are simple yet effective, drawing the viewer into rural farmland without distracting from the action. Sound design by Doug Borntrager helps to illustrate the emotions being played out on stage.
This is not an easy show to attend. There is nudity, there is fighting, and it moves at a jarringly quick pace. Basic plot and character development unfolds very slowly, and even at the end the audience may have questions that were not answered.
The experience of this show, however, is completely worth every question and plot twist. In the end, love is a confusing and tricky thing. The heart and soul of Skin Tight is the bond between two ordinary people…people with just enough detail left out to be any one of us.
Let go of your expectations and come along for the ride. Experience the realities of a life well lived and fiercely loved.
Skin Tight plays at the Know Theatre (map) now through October 30. All tickets can be purchased online, at the Know Theater box office, or by calling (513) 300-5669 for $12 in advance and $15 the week of the performance. Flexible subscriptions are also available for $48.
Skin Tight Production Dates:
8pm performances: October 9, 14-16, 21- 23, 28-30
3pm performances: October 24 & 30