Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This North Coast Weekend: Jagun Fly

It's the final weekend for Jagun Fly at HSU. I saw what will probably wind up being the worst night of the run, which was last Friday. Michelle Cartier, who not only designed the visuals (projections, video) and sound but was to run it during the show, had a sudden family emergency and wasn' there. Though the play was possible without the visual effects, the production was built with them as part of it, so the timing was thrown off. Plus someone had to learn the sound cues, because there were important sound effects. Then director John Heckel came down with this flu that's felling people left and right--he did what he could until he was too sick to stand on Friday afternoon.

But the show went on, and despite a lighting cue error which erased an important speech, and some other missed lines elsewhere, there were also very effective moments for each of the cast members, particularly Natasha Harrell (pictured above), who nobody had seen let go like that before. Judging from the talk-back afterwards, the audience was impressed overall. Now Michelle is back and the show is only going to get better. I'm hoping to see it again this weekend.

I also spent some time with the playwright, John ADEkoje, who was on campus for a week from Boston. I'd read this play so I knew he can write, as I keep saying, some serious music. But I was equally impressed with his temperament (pretty even, with humor and both in-the-moment perceptions and an analytical distance) and attitude. These are qualities I've seen before, and together with his writing talent, it's a combination that augers well for success. He impressed those who knew him as a student with how he's grown, and the potential for growth is another good sign. He's also a filmmaker, so the stage may not become his main emphasis, but he has a lot of potential as a playwright well beyond his alma mater.

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