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Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

The Clockmaker’s Dream

Next Act finds the heart of human connection

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Stephen Massicotte's The Clockmaker is a delicate drama of narrative poetry. Events don't unfold in a linear fashion. They conform to a dreamlike logic of emotion that resonates through the heart of human connection. It's very, very difficult stuff to transfer to the stage. Thankfully, Next Act Theatre's production features some of Milwaukee’s most seasoned and celebrated theatrical talent.

Director Mary MacDonald Kerr cleverly helmed the process of bringing the script to the stage, managing the complex narrative language of the play with the aid of a brilliant cast. With impressively charming vulnerability, Drew Brhel plays the title character—a clever man who is caught up in the affairs of a woman (Molly Rhode) and her abusive husband (Dan Katula). The clockmaker periodically meets with a mysterious bureaucrat (Richard Halverson) to discuss a crime he may or may not have committed at some point in the past or the future.

Brhel serves as a central anchor for a remarkably good cast. Rhode has a dreamy timidity about her performance that feels as though it was drawn directly from a fantasy. Katula tempers oppressive cruelty with a deep emotional fragility as an abusive husband. It's great to see Halverson in a role like the bureaucrat. There's a warmth and wisdom about his stage presence that lends compelling humanity to a character allowed precious little emotional dialogue.

The Clockmaker
runs through Feb. 24 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For ticket reservations, call 414-278-0765.
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