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Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

New Work Unfolds on an Intimate Stage

World’s Stage produces contemporary tragedy in 'Learner’s Permit'

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The World’s Stage Theatre Company has been responsible for a relatively wide variety of shows since it was established in 2009. This past weekend the young group staged a new work by playwright Liz Leighton, Learner’s Permit.

The contemporary drama is a tragic story that alternates between conversations before and after a very serious auto accident. UW-Milwaukee BFA acting student Sasha Katharine Sigel brought an interesting persona to the stage in the role of Kim, an intellectually frantic young woman still suffering from the emotional shocks of automobile-related trauma. Leighton put quite a bit of depth into the character and Sigel did a brilliant job delivering the emotional immediacy of the troubled young person to the stage—even if the finer points of some of the dialogue seemed elusive to her. Leighton doesn’t make the dialogue of Kim’s intellectual restlessness easy.

Leighton meticulously renders the conversations before and after the accident. We see the cause of the accident gradually come into view as its inevitable aftermath is slowly revealed. The pacing of revelations and plot points throughout the story is well modulated, although the precision does make some of the characters in the ensemble feel a little bit oversimplified. That being said, watching something completely new unfold onstage in the intimate space of The Underground Collaborative Downtown made any niggling, little flaws feel all the more charming in the warmth of a fresh, new project.

World’s Stage’s production of Learner’s Permit ran as a fully staged show for one week only. The company’s next major project will be a staging of the Peter Shaffer drama Amadeus in March. For more information, visit The World’s Stage Theatre Company at facebook.com/worldsstagetheatre.

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