Set in commune on an island off the coast of Maine, The Upper Room takes a group of idealists as they're forced to question their way of life after one of their own goes missing and the water levels suddenly rise. With an underlying commentary on humanity, faith, and our environment, The Upper Room strays away from theatrical norms to bring a polarizing exhibition like no other. The play with music is greatly aided by the voice and music of Catherine Brookman. Brookman is an artist of great depth. Her unique sound adds a stunning quality to the piece that could only fit in this wacky world Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady have grown. Brookman, Rady and Bloom all bring a unique vibe with their use of words. The poetry that they give the ensemble is gorgeous. But sometimes the wordsmiths went overboard on heightened imagery. To test the strength of a piece, you have to consider a person walking into the production completely blind, unaware of what is about to happen, never having read a single synopsis or promotional material. I fear that without any knowledge of The Upper Room, they could be utterly confused from start to finish. Sure, they’re bound to appreciate the artistry but clarity is necessary for the full effect.
The ensemble was in sync with one another from the moment they stepped on stage. Despite some characters having more of a prominent role in the story, each individual shined. The standouts of the bunch included the quirky and perfectly peculiar Heather Thiry as Lena, divingsuit wearing Stacy Ayn Price, and the hauntingly grounded Julia Sirna-Frest.
|photo courtesy of James Matthew Daniel|
The Upper Room is a daring piece you have to see to believe. It will either resonate with you, or it won’t. Regardless, the master invention and creativity that Jeremy Bloom, Brian Rady, and Catherine Brookman brought to the piece will certainly be rewarded.