Theater Preview: The Pride at RTP
The Pride, Alexi-Kaye Campbell’s award winning, era-hopping play about societal issues and acceptance, continues RTP’s 20th Anniversary season on Thursday April 4, after a reduced price preview on Wednesday April 3. It will run Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8pm through April 27th.
The play presents itself structurally as an elliptical, alternating from the 1958 to 2008, and features the same three actors living superficially similar but radically different lives within each era. Jason Campbell, the director, brought up his opinion about the commonalities between the characters who live in both eras. “They have the same names, there’s some similarities in character but I almost think of it as reincarnation… it’s not reincarnation,” Said Campbell.
In 1958, Philip is married to Sylvia, who is illustrating Oliver’s most recent children’s book. There is a noticeable tension between Philip and Oliver when they first meet as they skirt around what cannot be explicitly said. In 2008, fed up with his inscrutable infidelity, Philip leaves Oliver, alone and drowning his sorrows in role-play and scotch. Oliver enlists Sylvia, who introduced them, to counteract his loneliness.
In the beginning the play is more subtle about the similarities between the characters, but as it evolves, the characters between eras start to be understood as shadows of one another. The actions that they take in 1958 mirror, affect and illustrate those that take place in 2008. Campbell admits the story is complex but breaks it down to its basic point: “It really kind of illustrates the difference in relationships, and specifically the relationships of gay men, in 1958 versus 2008.”
The cast of The Pride is made up of four actors familiar to theater-goers for their work at stages throughout the Richmond area–all of which have blown Campbell away with their talent. Stevie Rice (Oliver), who made his debut in Howard Crabtree’s Whoop Dee Doo!, makes his second appearance on stage with The Pride. Nicholas Aliff (Philip) won the 2012 Richmond’s Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor in Firehouse Theatre Project’s The Rocky Horror Show. Stacie Rearden Hall (Sylvia) is well-known for her appearances with Richmond Shakespeare, most notably in their award-winning A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Evan Nasteff (Peter and the Doctor) was featured most recently in Cadence Theater Company’s Sons of the Prophet.
Campbell wishes the audience to be swept away in the complexities of The Pride, and hopes it will resonate for days after they walk out of the theater. “It’s very deep, and I hope that people will walk out of the theater thinking about how far we’ve come… We’re very quick to pass blame and judge, and say the government is not doing this and we are not doing that,” said Campbell. “I think this play really forces us to look at where we were, compared to where we are now.”
Opening Night Thursday, April 4, with performances Thursday – Saturday Evenings at 8 pm through April 27; Sunday matinees at 4 pm on April 14 and 21.
You can get tickets here
Tickets for Opening Night and Fri-Sat Eves $26; all other performances $21.
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