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HomeOperaA woman's trauma in school precipitates 'Unprotected' by Pipeline Playwrights

A woman’s trauma in school precipitates ‘Unprotected’ by Pipeline Playwrights

It typically feels as if smaller theater corporations aren’t capable of stage probably the most subversive materials. I’ve typically seen that probably the most groundbreaking artwork involves the massive names within the DMV, these with probably the most time and assets to supply or fee it. However I at all times wish to be proved mistaken in that thought, as a result of there’s a lot energy in communal efforts, and a lot to say inside our communities. That’s why it felt improbable to see Unprotected, produced by the Pipeline Playwrights collective in Arlington’s Theatre on the Run final week.

Diane Cooper-Gould (Sarah), Sophia Colón Roosevelt (Grace), Caden Sterrett (Zach), and Nicole Ruthmarie (Regina) in ‘Unprotected.’ Picture by Emily Pan @empanxin.

Unprotected, a play by Jean Koppen, is a household drama that facilities on gendered energy dynamics. Simply earlier than throwing her brother a party, Sarah (performed by Diane Cooper-Gould) is challenged when she finds out that one thing not too long ago occurred to her daughter in school. The following confrontation then reveals a lot about Sarah’s personal childhood, forcing her and her household to face reminiscences and traumas that they’ve by no means actually even talked about. Consequently, Sarah and her daughter, Grace (performed by Sophia Colón Roosevelt), are capable of develop in new methods, and particular care is proven within the script to make it clear that although the trauma is actual, these occasions weren’t one thing they need to have needed to reside via.

Philip Krzywicki (Doug), Nicole Ruthmarie (Regina), Diane Cooper-Gould (Sarah), and Chris Andersen (Ed) in ‘Unprotected.’ Picture by Emily Pan @empanxin.

Koppen bites off rather a lot in tackling these themes, and she or he covers all of it very gracefully, in a formidable 75 minutes. She is sensible to not attempt to resolve what’s taking place — nothing on this play is tied up with a bow by the top — as an alternative, she focuses on character development and alter, which appears like a better, extra reasonable solution to attain her level. Her characters are attention-grabbing, and within the palms of the best actors, have sufficient nuance to make this tackle hurt, security, and justice interesting. All of that mentioned, although the play was written a couple of years in the past, it looks as if it’s in its first phases. Koppen’s script feels awkward and stilted towards the start, with numerous interactions that come off as expositional fairly than real. Unprotected is a brief play, assembled fully round its battle, so any moments not centered on that find yourself being somewhat clumsy. With some modifying, these scenes might be an amazing alternative to flesh out among the characters, which might enable Koppen to be much less heavy-handed towards the start and, on the identical time, make Sarah’s epiphanies and development really feel much more satisfying.

Given all of this, the actors had a little bit of a gradual begin, notably as a result of Catherine Tripp (who directed) doesn’t tempo the dialogue in a short time till the motion is already constructing, the battle already revealed. As soon as the actors are within the thick of it, although, they’re very participating. Cooper-Gould as Sarah actually embodies the large burden the character has been dwelling below for therefore a few years, and the way it’s each a reduction and a hardship to deal with. Her eventual breakdown is convincing and heart-wrenching, performed with nice empathy by the actor. Nicole Ruthmarie performs Regina, sister-in-law to Sarah and mom of Zach, Grace’s cousin who we discover out was part of the incident that occurred to her in school. Ruthmarie is compelling in her concern, her disappointment, her shock, in addition to her festiveness towards the start of the play. She does a improbable job of attempting to attach along with her fellow actors on stage and react genuinely to what they provide her. Chris Anderson performs Ed, Sarah’s emotionally abusive husband, whereas Philip Krzywicki performs Doug, Sarah’s brother and Zach’s father. Lastly, Caden Sterrett rounds out the forged as Zach, and does an amazing job of portraying a personality who’s younger, ignorant, and afraid of repercussions, his mother and father, and himself, but in addition steeped within the privileges his cis male gender has lent him.

Far and away, the largest standout of the present is the set. Given a black field theater within the Arlington group house, James Raymond (set, props, costume design) creates a shocking and moody set. Two looming partitions of peeling paint set the scene upstage, towering over the characters a lot because the themes do. They painting a wall of peeling paint, enormous chunks of plaster stripping off to disclose a stunning peacock blue beneath. The remainder of the set is fashionable and tactile, smooth velvet sofas and modern lighting fixtures, which supplies the enormous partitions and few non-modern set items an ominous feeling — it’s simple to surprise what’s being repressed in that home. Lighting (Emily Pan) is easy, stable for the supply materials, and costumes, sound design, and props are as properly, although Raymond deserves a specific shoutout for making a cake that appeared really scrumptious sufficient for the characters to speak about it as a lot as they do.

Diane Cooper-Gould (Sarah) and Philip Krzywicki (Doug) in ‘Unprotected.’ Picture by Emily Pan @empanxin.

And when they aren’t coping with the bigger ramifications of the themes of the play, the characters are given moments the place they’re speaking about cake or work, home windows into their interior world that assist us perceive them extra. These moments assist us see them as entire folks, and stop framing the play as a robotic and academic manufacturing extra about its battle than its characters. I do hope Koppen may need the prospect so as to add extra of that, however even when not, Unprotected continues to be affecting and vital. Significantly as a manufacturing from a smaller theater firm, it’s important in the best way it provides voice to those points whereas remaining an accessible play to placed on. So although the present has numerous rising to do, it’s a particularly worthwhile endeavor.

Operating Time: One hour quarter-hour, with no intermission

Unprotected performs via October 23, 2022, introduced by Pipeline Playwrights acting at Theatre on the Run, 3700 S. 4 Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA (then will stream as video-on-demand for 2 weeks at a later date). Buy tickets ($15–$25) on-line.

This system for Unprotected is on-line right here.

Upcoming performances
Thursday, October 20, 2022, 8:00 pm
Friday, October 21, 2022, 8:00 pm
Saturday. October 22, 2022, 3:00 pm
Sunday, October 23, 2022, 2:00 pm

COVID Security: All viewers members are requested to be masked whereas within the constructing.

Unprotected by Jean Koppen

Director: Catherine Tripp
Producer: Crystal Adaway
Stage Supervisor: Dana Maksymova
Battle Coordinator: Emily Jonas
Scenic, Props, and Costumes Designer: James Raymond
Lighting and Sound Designer: Emily Pan

Diane Cooper-Gould: Sarah
Chris Andersen: Ed
Sophia Colón Roosevelt: Grace
Nicole Ruthmarie: Regina
Philip Krzywicki: Doug
Caden Sterrett: Zach



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