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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

World’s Stage’s Dark Intellectual Comedy

Local premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s ‘Seminar’

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The World’s Stage Theatre Company hosts the Wisconsin premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar. The dark ensemble comedy engages intellectually from the stage of an intimate studio theater space. Bryce Lord has sharp command of a dominant personality as a callous, brutally honest author teaching a class of advanced students looking to become successful writers.

A dynamic ensemble vividly delivers the complex interpersonal politics of a group of people aching for professional and critical success in the literary world. As a student named Martin, David Rothrock lives up to his tremendous potential as a hero of endearingly neurotic cerebral magnetism. Rothrock has an aggressive vulnerability onstage that works well here as the reluctant genius. Samantha Martinson is compellingly savvy as Martin’s longtime friend Kate. The character has an interesting evolution in the course of the story that Martinson glides through with admirable delivery of the character’s emotional resilience. As the successful and well-connected author Douglas, James Carrington navigates quite deftly between scholarly arrogance and something much more charming. Gretchen Mahkorn rounds out the cast as the fourth student, Izzy, smartly conveying the physical sensuality of a woman who shrewdly wields her ample beauty with aplomb.

Makhorn and the rest of the cast are aided in the physical end of the play by intimacy director Christopher Elst. Better-known as a fight choreographer, it's interesting to see Elst work here to render render emotional affection and familiarity between three of the four students in what turns out to be a comedy of pleasantly casual physical grace.

The World’s Stage’s production of Seminar runs through Aug. 31 at the Tenth Street Theatre, 628 N. 10th St. For tickets, visit twstheatre.com.