Lyric Repertory Company launches theatrical experiment

The Lyric Repertory Company has premiered a celebration of original small-cast plays that are still in development entitled "InterACT(X2)."

LOGAN – The final theatrical premiere of the Lyric Repertory Company’s 2021 season is something entirely new – a celebration of two original plays still under development by talented young performers.

Dubbed “InterACT(X2),” the theater experiment features not only brief one-person dramas penned by Sage Fortune and Kevin E. Thorne II, but also a question and answer session for audience members with the budding playwrights.

Both performers have previously demonstrated their formidable dramatic chops in the Lyric production of “The Mountaintop.” They are recent graduates of the renowned Theatre Arts department at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where their one-act shows were developed as senior class projects.

The challenge of those assignments obviously allowed Ms. Fortune and Thorne to let their imaginations soar.

While as different as night and day, their productions – “Step Inside My Mind” by Thorne and “She Remembers” by Ms. Fortune – were warmly greeted by a small local audience on Wednesday.

Thorne’s play is an intimate, personal exploration of the uncertainty of a young man attempting to come to terms with his bisexuality. His responses to that realization convincingly run the gamut from the hope that family and friends will accept him to the brink of suicide.

Despite its brevity, Ms. Fortune’s offering is a much more theatrical event, a dark tale in which she portrays an insanely upbeat flight attendant on a one-way trip to global disaster.

Although both actors appropriately appear on a bare stage, they are ingeniously supported by digital effects orchestrated by Stephen Piechocki, the Lyric’s production designer.

Piechocki is the unsung hero of the repertory company’s hastily organized 2021 season, contributing imaginative and evocative digital backgrounds to all of Lyric’s current productions.

During “InterACT(X2),” Piechocki’s wizardry simulated phone calls and social media posts for “Step Inside My Mind” and multiple cataclysms for “She Remembers.”

During the post-show discussions with the audience, Ms. Fortune and Thorne proved to be witty, candid and fiercely intelligent.

During one exchange with an audience member, the gentleman confessed that he couldn’t figure out whether Thorne’s character killed himself at the end of “Step Inside My Mind.”

“That’s good,” the playwright/performer replied.

For her part, Ms. Fortune expressed satisfaction with the current version of “She Remembers,” declining a suggestion that she might consider adding additional characters to the one-person show.

Additional performances of “InterACT(X2)” are slated for July 8 and 14 at the Caine Lyric Theatre on Center Street in downtown Logan.

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