American Home – Theatre Review

American Home – Theatre Review

By Rachel Flanagan

Marc Barnes, Mel Green, Jennifer Adler, Ozioma Akagha, Caroline Westheimer, Ethan Rains

As children, we often fail to appreciate the roof that is over our head and allows for sleepovers with friends or time spent with the family who shares that same roof.  As we grow older, we long for a roof over our heads that is all our own, with no one sending us to our room without television or telling us when we have to be back home.  A house is what helps us feel like we’ve planted our roots and can grow and flourish but a house does not make a home. As the famous saying goes, home is where the heart is, and for many during the 2008 real estate crisis, their hearts were foreclosed upon. American Home, Stephanie Alison Walker’s world premiere play at the Fremont Centre Theatre in Pasadena, journeys into the impossible choices and resilience that people have when they’re about to lose everything and shares their heart wrenching yet touching stories in a fearless theatrical experience.

Ozioma Akagha, Jono Eiland

We meet a cast full of dreamers whose dreams are about to come to a nightmare as they face the reality of becoming the 1 in 54 homeowners to get hit with a foreclosure notice.   Young couple Mike and Dana Washington, charismatically portrayed by Jono Eiland and Ozioma Akagha.  Mike is the seemingly chill guy who grew up with next to nothing but now makes the money for just about anything he wants and his wife, Dana, dreams of the perfect home.  Although he’s extremely anxious about the prospect of becoming a homeowner, he agrees to buy their home and build the foundation Dana has been dreaming of since she was a little girl. When a layoff greatly diminishes their income, will they figure out how to stay in their home, or are they strong enough together to stand strong and leave everything behind?  Florence Rainwater (Bette Smith who provides equal amounts frailty and tough as nails to the character) is a ninety-year-old widow who just wants to live out the rest of her life, however long that may be, with her memories in her home. As the mail piles up and the utilities are turned off, Florence finds herself squatting in her own home with the company of local police officer Robbie, played by Marc Barnes.  Robbie knows his place as a job, but he has a good heart too and struggles to find the right direction to take.  Preacher Paula, expertly executed by Jessica Kay Temple teaches her congregation about the power of faith and prosperity but when foreclosure looms, is faith enough?

Caroline Westheimer, Jennifer Adler, Mel Green

Marc Barnes, Bette Smith

As the heart-wrenching realities create a looming dark cloud on the mood, Mel Green and Jennifer Adler provide some realistic comedic relief as news anchors who break up the mood with stories of foreclosures around the country while Jon Snow (in some performances will be Ethan Rains) and Caroline Westheimer portray several characters ranging from dramatic and bold to hysterically funny.  Even when faced with the harshest of truths, it’s beneficial to be able to smile and laugh a little too. Directed by Kat Woodruff, the play smoothly transitions from scene to scene and mood to mood in a generally eloquent way without requiring too many long-winded pauses for set changes.  One critical note is both a critic and a compliment in Jessica Temple and her television evangelical portrayal that seemed to leave the audience unsure whether to play along with her or whether we were just supposed to sit back as a non-engaging audience. Thankfully she did an excellent job at improvising enough to get the audience involved and interacting with her as it did seem to be a part of the experience and not just an act.

Jessica Kaye Temple

American home is about the spirit of Americans to face the harsh realities of the day their American Dream bubbles pop and find their way to a new dream without completely drowning along the way. At a time when Americans living in Texas are just another group of people losing their homes and cities to the consequences of mother nature, it’s good to have a piece like American Home, to keep our own dreams in check and remember that humans are resilient and everyone can use a little help, even if they don’t know how to ask, they will be forever grateful for it.

August 26 – September 24th

8 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 2 pm on Sunday.

Fremont Centre Theatre

1000 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena

For tickets and information:

Better Lemons Review: Here

Posted By Rachel Flanagan on August 29, 2017

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