Craig Wright’s play, The Pavilion, is set in Pine City, Minn., where the class of 1991 is celebrating its 20th reunion. Wright’s show, first produced in 2000, resonates with echoes of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, about the citizens of Grover’s Corners, a tiny New Hampshire town. Both towns are fictional — and universal. The latter point is brought to our attention immediately by a narrator (played by Jeffrey Kuhn). He’s a descendant of Wilder’s Stage Manager, full of philosophy, poetry and wry observations.
“This is a play about time,” he explains, meaning the impact of time’s inevitable stream, heedless of individual events no matter the trauma they have inflicted on people like former high school sweethearts Peter (Jay Stratton) and Kari (Anney Giobbe), pulled apart by an unplanned pregnancy and parental pressure.
Ensemble Theatre’s D.
Lynn Meyers is the show’s guest director, and The Pavilion is
the kind of show — wistful and sad with humor and insight — that
she’s a master of staging. Kuhn is endlessly inventive as he
rotates through funny characters, and Stratton and Giobbe are
painfully human, struggling with “What if” and “Could it be?”
These questions of timing can’t be fully answered. But this
exploration makes for a fine conclusion to the Playhouse’s season.
THE PAVILION, presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, continues through June 12. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.