“A Delicate Ship” premieres regionally Bold performances and intricate staging elevate unoriginal material

By: Katherine Colborn ~Managing Editor~

The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has offered audiences the chance to partake in a world premiere of “A Delicate Ship,” a memory play that explores the complexities of a love triangle and a tangled past that weaves in and out of the events taking place on stage. Award-winning playwright Anna Ziegler tells the story of Sarah and Sam, a couple wrapped up in their relatively new relationship.

Their first Christmas Eve together is shaken up by the arrival of Nate, Sarah’s friend and childhood neighbor. The play is driven by the poetic and emotionally charged dialogue following Nate’s entry.

The conversation and the events arouse thought-provoking topics and touch upon issues such as troubling parental relationships, the pressures of societal expectations that come with age and the challenge of connecting the past and the present.

Though the structure of this play lent itself well to its content, the content itself is not necessarily original or striking. However, the fluidity with which all the actors moved between time or memories — often jumping from present day monologues to past events

acted out on the stage — was remarkable. Janie Brookshire (Sarah), Ben Diskant (Sam) and Karl Miller (Nate) created an engaging series of relationships and produced both deeply serious and very humorous moments in the same scenes without a hiccup. Miller’s performance was the most dynamic of the three, while Diskant’s stiff, limited range of expression was the weakest.

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From left to right: Ben Diskant as Sam, Karl Miller as Nate and Janie Brookshire as Sarah in “A Delicate Ship.”

Brookshire succeeded in balancing her character’s passivity with deep and raw emotion. The physical movement on stage kept this one-act play exciting, while credit for the beautiful handling of the play’s challenging structure must go to the director, Michael Evan Haney, who is also co-teaching a directing class this semester through Xavier’s Department of Theatre.

The play was a poetic and honest story of three young adults and their diminishing innocence. Though its content is rather unoriginal, the structure and the arrangement are truly striking. The variation from a strictly chronological plotline offers the audience a more robust understanding of human memory and as well as a fascinating exploration into a common experience. “A Delicate Ship” will run at the Playhouse until April 20. Tickets can be purchased through the Playhouse website, http://www.cincyplay. com or through the Box Office at (513) 421-3888. Tickets range from $30 to $75, and student discount tickets are offered at $25.


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