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Review: 'Reckless' seamlessly connected comedy and human emotion

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Ed Flores and Ed Flores | The Daily Wildcat

Courtesy of Ed Flores/Arizona Repertory Theatre

Lloyd (Scott Murdock) and Rachel (Grace Kirkpatrick) embark on a cross-country odyssey, unshaken by disaster in "Reckless," a dark “holiday” comedy running Nov. 8 through Dec. 6 at the Arizona Repertory Theatre. Both Kirkpatrick and Murdock deliver fine performances.

Arizona Repertory Theatre’s production of “Reckless” took all the right approaches to a seamless, whimsical valentine of a comedy.

“Reckless” by Craig Lucas had its opening night Nov. 11. After two successful previews, the show was more than ready for the general public.

Following an indefatigably optimistic woman named Rachel, played by Grace Kirkpatrick, an acting senior in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, the audience learns a valuable lesson about dealing with tragic events in life and moving towards the future. 

Lucas himself comes from a darker background and has channeled this in an attempt to depict the disconnect we have regarding traumatic events in life and where we stand in accordance with them. 

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“I love ‘Reckless,’” director Hank Stratton said. “It’s an antic investigation of things that are incredibly human: hope, grief and friendship, [among other things].”

The production consists of two acts and over 20 different scene changes, and despite the number of scenes, the show appeared to remain seamless.

“The amount of effort needed to maintain a fluid set for the stage was crucial to the production,” said Adam Grodman, an acting freshman in the Bachelor of Arts program.

A musical track accompanied every advancement of the scenery and left no opportunity for awkward instances of inactivity.

“When I pitched the design [of the stage], I wanted to create a snow globe onstage, and with every shake of the snow globe our protagonist is thrown into another scenario,” Stratton said.

One of the key elements of “Reckless” is the buoyant attitude it maintains throughout the story. While having somber and depressing undertones, Rachel manages to continually provide uplifting remarks and kept the overall mood alive and happy.

“Through this series of very exaggerated episodes, Rachel is confronted again and again with adversity that she meets with a practical resolve and a smile,” Stratton said.

In the beginning, Kirkpatrick’s Rachel appeared very forced and unnatural, but as the show progresses, the audience sees the over-enthused behavior as Rachel’s way of coping with the harsh reality around her. 

The cast of “Reckless” was fairly small, consisting of only 11 students. Each student had obviously devoted countless hours into developing their character.

Rachel encounters numerous characters with sketchy pasts. One such character is Lloyd, played by Scott Murdock, an acting junior in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. 

Murdock really channels the energy of Lloyd, a character who regrets past decisions in life and pulls forth the effort to make amends with the man he has become today. Eventually, he shows his true past and reveals the tribulations he has endured.

Jamie Grossman, a musical theater senior in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, plays Pooty, the paraplegic, deaf wife of Lloyd. 

Grossman’s character is restricted to the confines of sign language and is forced to convey to the audience her intentions through the sheer means of facial expressions.

“The most difficult part in a production like this is to keep the tone light and yet honor technical requirements of the play,” Stratton said.

The scenery, lighting, costumes, sound and general stage hands combine with the skill of the actors to tell a story with a message about reconciliation and balancing the past with the future.

“Reckless” makes an excellent conclusion to this season’s lineup of productions. It draws together all of the other thematic messages from earlier productions, such as “Cabaret” and “Barefoot in the Park.”

I highly recommend taking the opportunity to see “Reckless.” The combination of lighthearted jokes and serious references to the inner human train of thought make for a well-performed production. Arizona Repertory Theatre will perform “Reckless” at the Marroney Theatre until Dec. 6. Tickets can be purchased from the College of Fine Arts Box Office at cfa.arizona.edu/facilities/box-office/.


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