James Crawford

Review: Shooting Star | WaterTower Theatre | Studio Theatre

Crossed in the Stars

WaterTower Theatre's Shooting Star succeeds because of the acting.

published Friday, June 3, 2011

Shooting stars aren't really stars, they're meteoroids. Nothing more than space debris zooming through that vast expanse, occasionally close enough to our planet for its inhabitants to witness a millisecond of a trace of trailblazing sparkle in the sky.

When you see one, you probably think "neat!"

Not "I wonder what it's going to crash into and ruin?"

That's pretty much what goes through your head when you meet someone you're attracted to, as well. Thoughts of a future, whether that be for the next few hours or decades, with that certain someone, wander through your head at some point. There's usually no thought given to the potential mess that will happen later when one or both of you screws everything up.

That's what makes it worthwhile. Life's uncertainties keep us going.

That's the premise of Steven Dietz's play Shooting Star, now receiving a bang-up production at WaterTower Theatre. Directed by Mark Fleischer, the former artistic director of defunct Plano Repertory Theatre, the production will move to the Adirondack Theatre Festival in July, where Fleischer now serves as A.D.

It's a fitting show to move cross-country, considering that's what the two characters are doing when they find one another while snowed in at an airport. Reed (James Crawford) and Elena (Diana Sheehan) were lovers 25 years ago in college in Madison, Wis., and haven't seen each other since their apparently intense breakup. Being stuck in the airport gives them plenty of time to discuss their past, what has happened since and to rediscover old feelings.

Predictably, their lives have taken pretty diverse paths. She was and still is a free spirit, wearing a hippy-dippy skirt and still occasionally partaking in mind-expanding herbs. She never married. He's buttoned-up and Republican and going through some changes in his marriage while dealing with a teenage daughter who's dating.

Dietz's writing and characters feel all too convenient at times, but in some ways, that's what's engaging about it. The familiarity of them—we all know folks like them, if we're not one or the other ourselves—keeps us going along with their latest turn on life's cosmic roadway. The idea of missed connections seems a little quaint in the post-Facebook era (the play is set in 2005), but that's not so long ago that we forget the excitement of revisiting the past with someone who made an impact.

It wouldn't work so well without actors who can sell the connection—not just the one now, but the one they used to have. Crawford and Sheehan commit to that idea with a big payoff. Each of them finds layers that go underneath the writing, giving us characters that we know and like (and sometimes dislike), but are also filled with surprises and secrets.

It's two of our best local actors in top form, and looking great on Michael Sullivan's sleek airport terminal set, with smart video projections and sound design from Scott Guenther.


◊ After the WaterTower run, Shooting Star plays July 7-17 at the Adirondack Theatre Festival in Glens Falls, N.Y. You can see a video interview with Crawford and Sheehan hereThanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Crossed in the Stars
WaterTower Theatre's Shooting Star succeeds because of the acting.
by Mark Lowry

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :