Immersed In Vivid Imagery!
The Play opens with a very Southern grandmother telling you to “hush up” and watch her grandsons play, she “carries a piece” don’t you know. Then Frank Blocker appears on stage. He starts with a simple reading of “Southern Gothic Novel”, moments after beginning however he places the book aside and begins painting an amazing scene. He shifts not only his body and voice but the whole scene. Using his gestures and vocal cadence he paints a complete picture in your mind. You truly are in the Deep South from then on. Your companions of this trip? The seventeen characters Mr. Blocker seamlessly transitions through. The instant his shoulders shift you know Big Otis is about to lay down some colloquial wisdom, or Donna Hazzler will be exasperated at the latest antics of her daughter Viola.
“Southern Gothic Novel: The Aberdeen, Mississippi Sex-Slave Incident” is about more than just a series of crimes. It’s the lives, the prejudices, and the lessons shared and learned by an entire town. The story begins with Viola helplessly in love with her newest knight in shining armor Mark Julius. Though she denies it Viola falls in love at the drop of a hat. As the story progresses we find out there have been a recent rash of kidnappings all of which seem to be centered around Big Otis; the owner of Big Otis’ Saloon and a new comer to Aberdeen. Donna Big Otis’s friend is put in the uncomfortable position of looking into these disappearances. As the story progresses we learn a lot about this quaint southern town; in the process the townspeople learn a little bit more about themselves. Some like Viola even manage to grow up a smidge. I’ll leave the rest of the adventure for you to share with Mr. Blocker
Watching Frank Blocker on stage was the highlight of my week. Everything about his performance just draws you in further and further until only you, and the picture he paints exist. His use of space on the stage bringing to life columns, cars and buildings that weren’t there was mind blowing. How he used his body to transition from character to character was inspiring. From a lowly June bug to a giant of the character you believed he was every one of these things. The best thing that I can relate his performance to would be an ASL(American Sign Language) Play. In sign language you have to use your whole body, your hands, face, the way you stand to paint a picture of an entire world. All without props or background. Mr. Blocker did this so well I could picture the very swamp Jimmy was crawling through. It’s as if his gestures and mannerisms overlaid an entire southern landscape onto where the stage should of been. Everything else faded away and I only saw what Mr. Blocker wanted me to see
This was a truly immersive Play and there is no reason why anyone should not go and see this as soon as possible. I can’t begin to do this Play or Mr. Blocker’s performance justice.
Southern Gothic novel runs Fridays and Saturdays through March 30 at 11pm.
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