Breaking Down the Fourth Wall, Brick by Brick

On November 12-13, Readers Theatre Repertory tested the boundaries of where story ends and audience begins with “The Fall of the Fourth Wall,” featuring The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang, Caught in the Act by Bruce Kane, and Captive Audience by David Ives. Jason A. England directed.

Mirroring his theme, England said these days he feels a little like a character caught in a play not of his own making. So, he said, “I searched for plays that have a similar theme: in what seems like everyday life, theatre slyly, sometimes humorously slips into our reality.” But there’s a dark side to that too, he said. “Anytime we suspect someone, or something, outside of us is in control — that’s a little horrifying.”

These three short plays shattered the fourth wall: in one, characters realize they are being re-written by an outside force; in another, an accountant gets mistaken for an actor and doesn’t know his lines; and in the last two characters find their TV is more in control than they thought.

“It’s part of the human condition to wonder just who’s in charge of the play called life we find ourselves cast in,” England said. “It’s sure been a part of my condition these past few months. I’m eager to explore that question with our actors… and in this case, with our audience, too.”

The cast featured Marvin Gray, Melissa Clark, Ariel Puls, Mark Brown, and Joslyn Erickson

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