Monday, May 28, 2012

The Island

The Lantern Theater, located at 10th and Ludlow Streets, is producing The Island through June 10. Much as The Rock refers to Alcatraz, The Island refers to Robben Island, 7 km from Cape Town on the South Africa Coast. It is best known for housing political prisoners and Nelson Mandela was one of its most well- known inmates.  The play is inspired by real-life events of activist inmates.  In a break from their normal staging preparations, the Lantern has prepared a theater in-the-round which allows actors Frank X, playing John and U.R. playing Winston to work outside the stage, which is their cell, for a full 10 minutes at the beginning of the production.  This work is essential to the essence of the play as it demonstrates the meaningless of the hard labor each is forced to endure.   After seemingly endless digging and carrying of sand, both men are handcuffed together and forced to jog.  Their clasped wrists are only the beginning of many excellent sound effects put into play by sound designer Daniel Perelstein.  Natalia de la Torre also deserves mention for her costume design. The prisoners are frequently required to “drop their drawers” but the clothes they wear are well suited for the task.  Additionally, the cellmates rehearse Antigone, a play about injustice, to deliver a message in a prisoner’s show and to get their mind off their plight.  Through the rehearsals of Antigone, Winston rebels for he is being asked to take on a female role.   There are additional reasons that he has a difficult time dealing with his long time cellmate, but these two consummate Philadelphia actors pull off the show of a lifetime. For tickets or more information, call 215-829-9002 or visit online at

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