The power of Coincidence is insanely explored in the very funny, very dark play Richard Parker by Owen Thomas. Two men meet on a ship at sea… is it a coincidence… both think it’s a lovely day, both are headed to a funeral, both are trying to quit smoking… and both are named Richard Parker. Thomas takes the very common trope of strangers meeting and stuff happening (I’m looking at you Classic Edward Albee play Zoo Story) and turns it on its head.
Following its acclaimed runat the 2011 Edinburgh Festival, the show is getting its US premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Alastair Sill and Gareth John Bale as Richard Parker and Richard Parker, respectively, are marvelous together. Sill begins as a calm and steady every man and over the course of the play is broken down, and shattered. Bale brings a zesty is he or isn’t he insane energy to the play.
Bale, also serving as director, directs with simple, straight forward staging that allows the actors and the text to tell the story. The clarity and the attention to details–especially in the second scene, is wonderful.
And then there’s Coincidence. Bale’s Richard Parker is a believer. And the script almost turned me into one. It’s sharp, clever, moves deftly. I’ve heard of many of the “connections” between Kennedy and Lincoln, but never the full list… And then there are more… sure, some might be made up for the play, others maybe not, I’m not sure. But for that hour, I BELIEVED.
Richard Parker is a great play… part Hitchcock, part Pinter, very funny, dark, with a great script and two great actors.
June 18 @ 5 PM, June 18 @ 10 PM, June 19 @ 8:30 PM, June 20, 4:30 PM, June 21 @ 5 PM, June 22 @ 9:30. Check the Fringe website for tickets and location, which varies.
About the Author: Larry Pontius is a playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen around the world. His produced stage work includes an Off-Broadway production of Umbrella by Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan; Fallout by Working Man’s Clothes Productions and The Lunar Adventures of Dar and Matey by Stolen Chair Theater, followed up with Dar and Matey’s Christmas SpectaculARGH at the The Brick Theatre in Brooklyn, On The Night of Anthony’s 30th Birthday Party, Again at the Manhattan Theatre Source, On Sunday Morning, by Collaboraction in Chicago; American Autobahnics at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The Connection is Made and Running Out of Time were both ACTF Regional Ten-Minute Play Finalists. Pontius is one of the highest paid TV writers… in Pakistan. He has written three serials, including Qaatil, Pakistan’s first tele-thriller, and most recently Neeyat, a 20 part drama set in New York City, as well as a number of episodes in the anthology series New York Stories. His work also includes multiple television spec pilots. He is the recipient of the Michener Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin where he received an MFA in Playwriting. He also studied at Dell’Arte, The International School of Physical Theater, and received the Nicholas Meyer Scholarship for Playwrighting from the University of Iowa, where he received a BA with Honors. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America and The Playwrights Union. @LarryPontius