For mature audiences only. Content advisory: APPLE SEASON contains adult language and themes of sexual abuse.
THEATRE NOVA PRESENTS THE MICHIGAN PREMIERE OF
by E. M. Lewis
Jan. 31 through Feb. 23, 2020
8:00 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays,
and 2:00 pm on Sundays.
When her father dies, Lissie returns to her family's apple orchard after escaping from there with her brother Roger many years before. But a chance encounter with an old flame conjures haunting family secrets she thought she'd left behind. As Lissie tumbles down a rabbit hole of memory and grief, she must choose whether to preserve her tangled past--or burn it to the ground.
Directed by David Wolber, featuring Alysia Kolascz (Bright Half Life), Matthew Swift, and Jeremy Kucharek (Admissions). The production and design team includes Monica Spencer (scenic design), Daniel C. Walker (lighting design), Angeline Fox Maniglia (costume design), Carla Milarch (sound design), and Briana O’Neal (stage manager/props).
“It’s through intimately drawn character portraits of a brother and sister returning for the first time in 20 years to the hometown – and, more specifically, the home life - they fled as high school students that the audience can connect the dots that reveal their trauma.
The show pivots on a very tough topic, but handles it in a contemplatively paced, gentle, talk-around-it way that is, I believe, no less powerful. It leaves audiences to ponder the courage required to confront a troubled past. If such wounds can be healed, how does one begin? I was part of an audience that loved the show. People stood and applauded enthusiastically afterward. To be sure, Director David Wolber gives us an expert staging of the script, Monica Spencer’s set design of an apple orchard at harvest time and stone barn with antique apple press is exquisite. Lighting director Daniel C. Walker’s lighting design illuminates the flashbacks, where the three characters play younger versions of themselves. The acting ensemble is terrific, especially Kucharek.
PULP: Arts Around Ann Arbor Review
THEATRE NOVA ACTORS SHINE IN ‘APPLE SEASON
“Three excellent actors bring quiet authority to their performances in Theatre Nova’s Michigan premiere of Lewis’ play under the direction of David Wolber. Wolber and his cast bring an honest realism to the story. Alysia Kolascz plays Lissie as a tough woman. She has the right feel for the character’s constant apprehension and distrust of friendship, let alone the possibility of love. In the memory scenes she reverts to the teenager she used to be, all nerves and a bit of bravado until disturbing events throw her into personal chaos. Kolascz never loses that hard edge that defines what Lissie has become.”
READ THE FULL REVIEW
“The central idea—a woman returns to the home where she grew up after the death of her father—is not original to this play but the fabulous direction by David Wolber on a heartbreakingly idyllic set (designed by Monica Spencer) make it fresh and interesting. All three actors breathe brilliant life into what could have been cliché characters in the hands of lesser actors. Audience members feel the incredible grit tinged with vulnerability in Lissie, the warmth of the kindhearted, earnest Billy, and the pain of the selfless, stoic but hurting Roger. Ultimately, Lissie must decide how to reckon with a past that isn’t, as Faulkner said, past. Taking those steps with these characters is an emotional, beautiful, haunting journey that is hard to forget.”
Washtenaw Voice Review
“Thus, the limbolike setting of “Apple Season”—written by E. M. Lewis, and playing at Theatre NOVA through Feb. 23—is fittingly isolated to the protagonist Lissie’s childhood home, an apple orchard lost in an uncertain past. The story, with its restricted setting and characters, succeeds centrifugally through the production. The set thoroughly envelops the audience in the setting, and the actors and the lighting artists allow room for inferences in their conveyance of the story. You can feel the sincerity, the concern and the hurt of the characters—no matter how much of a rollercoaster ride the dialogue and stage directions seem. In short: see it while you can, and give the actors the praise they deserve.”