July 14, 2024

“Stones in His Pockets,” a two-man show written by Marie Jones, saw a great reception over the weekend. Theater professor Patrick Reynolds, Ph.D., directed the project for the show’s stars, senior Sarah Van Deusen and junior Adam Barstow, who comprised  cast, each portraying several characters (playing both genders) through vocal manipulations, accent changes and minute vest and hat costume swaps on stage.
The story follows friends Charlie (Barstow) and Jake (Van Deusen), two Irish friends who, like most of the people in their small city, have joined a Hollywood production as extras. Charlie is passionate about becoming a screenwriter, and constantly tries to get people to read a script he wrote. Meanwhile, Jake becomes the pet of the movie’s star, the gorgeous Caroline (Barstow), who uses him to better herself for the movie.
Caroline later shuns a teenager named Sean (Van Deusen), a troubled boy who wanted desperately to be part of the show. He commits suicide by placing stones in his pockets and walking into a body of water. She and the rest of the American cast and crew seem unaffected by his death, seeing it as annoyance rather than a tragedy, as the Irishmen and women who knew him wanted to go to the boy’s funeral, which would push back production for the movie.
Eventually, the directorial board allow them an hour to attend the funeral, and use this in a publicity ploy to show themselves as “compassionate” and “sympathetic” to the Irish persons’ pain. Charlie and Jake become inspired to transform Charlie’s script to tell Sean’s story. The friends share their idea with the movie director, hoping to get his advice on how to make it into a movie; he rebukes their efforts instead, and tells them the story isn’t sensational enough to matter.
In the beginning, the show was rather hard to follow with the character changes and dialogue. But as soon as the story got into full swing, it was a thoroughly enjoyable performance.
Barstow brilliantly brought out the comedic aspects to his characters, all of whom captured your attention anytime he spoke. And Van Deusen cleverly switched from role to role, showcasing each passion, pain and perturbed disposition each had to offer from their interactions.
The show was an intriguing commentary on the corruption of the “show business” enterprise, and displayed a desensitization and disrespect for humanity when it stood in the way of profit.

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