Played in the mid 1990s, Brian Watkins’ Wyoming shares the story of the reemergence of a long departed brother who mysteriously returns to town, forcing a family to question a life-defining instance that happened over twenty years earlier. Broken into two distinct parts, the first part of the play is filled with exposition, told through smart theatrical devices. The second part is an action packed dinner where an innocent party game leads to truths being revealed. From a structural standpoint, Wyoming utilizes some pretty standard devices, but the way Watkins boosts them is smart and fresh. From flashbacks to a monologue, the array of storytelling is perfect for this mystery play. Brian Watkins is a wordsmith. His marvelous storytelling talents are on full display as he keeps you glued to the edge of your seats, waiting with bated breath for the ultimate reveal. The moment the word game at dinner begins, each sentence that the family creates leads to such a fantastic reveal.
|photo courtesy of Hunter Canning|
Watkins’ script is near flawless and Danya Taymor’s direction was equally brilliant. The rollercoaster of momentum was expertly maintained by Taymor. She found the moments when the story needed to take time and when it needed to keep moving. Taymor’s staging throughout was spot on. In the first part, keeping Edward T. Morris’ rundown world stationary allowed Taymor to blend into each scene and memory with ease. By mixing present with past, Masha Tsmiring’s lighting design allowed for some beautiful stage pictures. The soundtrack that Robin Pecknold and Neal Morgan composed fit beautifully into Watkins’ world. It was subtle and served the play well.
Wyoming is one of those simple plays that hits you. It mixes an array of emotions that allow to feel as if you are part of the family. Brian Watkins knows how to tell a story. And with a top notch team surrounding in, his story is even stronger. Wyoming may be the best thing from Lesser America yet.