J. A. Di Bello’s Review of A View of the Harbor

November 3, 2018

Cornerstone Theatre Arts

Goshen

     As a multi-talented and prolific playwright, Richard Dresser is no stranger to the diminutive stage of Goshen’s famed Music Hall. Director Ken Tschan is familiar with the caliber of his work and with confidence presents the third play of a Dresser trilogy that through dramatic comedy examines the illusive concept of “Happiness” in a four-character, one-act, A View of the Harbor.

Set, in the present along the coast of Maine, in the ramshackle home of an ultra-wealthy, eccentric industrialist Daniel Townsend, the play is a coarsely woven fabric of events and circumstance. Despite that constraint, Nick and his significant other, Paige arrive in the dark (literally and figuratively) at the family estate.  Nick is eloquently brought to the stage by Cornerstone vet, Ben Hudson, who is convincing as a young man desperately searching for those intangible elements that will make his life complete.

A convincing Sara Johnson, brings Nick’s accessible partner Paige into the mix. She attractively and persuasively adds to the quick and effective exposition. As all quickly learn, there are serious pieces missing from the psycho-social composition of this delusional family that inhabits a dilapidated mansion on the beautiful yet haunting coast of Maine. If there was ever a glimmer of doubt, Nick’s sister Kathryn quickly dispenses any lingering flicker. In fact, one might quickly and modestly conclude: The Townsend family is a couple of biscuits short of a full dozen.

Given those circumstances, Kathryn’s actions and interactions with her brother Nick, as well as Paige and especially her father, Daniel are fundamental to the play’s mission. Rebecca Robbins’ portrayal of Kathryn is not only seductive, in the convincing sense, but for emphasis is central, as she plausibly expresses her frustrations and misguided desires. Joe Barra, a reliable Cornerstone veteran, delivers a rousing and believable Daniel, the patriarch of this needy bunch.

The hopes, dreams and aspirations of the Townsend family are not frivolous or unworthy. Through the art of comedy and the clever, dramatic manipulation of action, each character, including Paige, in this drama aspires to realize basic and identifiable human needs!

Cornerstone Theatre arts’ production of A View of the Harbor is an enjoyable, entertaining, and frequently enlightening evening of theatre. None of this would exist without the firm directorial hand of Ken Tschan and, of course, the knowledge and expertise of an unflinching Technical Director Jacqueline Dion. Her scene changes and sound bites were spot-on and contributed significantly to the show’s undeniable unity.

A View of the Harbor will continue its run at the Goshen Music Hall through November 18. Reservations are a must as performances are frequently sold out. Call 845-294-4188 for additional information and reservations.

 

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