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High atop a railroad trestle that spans a bone dry creek, two teenagers plan to race across the bridge against an oncoming locomotive. At first their scheme adds excitement to their life in a small factory town during the Great Depression, but their sensual experience, dawning sexuality and confusion awakens dangerous passions in an era of stifled ambitions. With theatrical flourish, humor and lyrical finesse, Naomi Wallace delves into a world where people struggle to change lives that bear down upon them. Guest artist and revered director Jonathan Berry makes his directorial debut with Eclipse. Presented by Eclipse Theatre Company.
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Director Amy Shoshana Blumberg Talks The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek
The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by Naomi Wallace
S mall-town America, dysfunction and the murky underbelly of the American dream - we have, of course, been here before. It takes the finest of writers to cast this in a newly perceptive light, and Naomi Wallace is one such talent, weaving poetic symbolism into her tale to tell the story of Dalton Chance and Pace Creagan, two teenagers growing up in the Depression. Theirs is a brutal landscape, emotional and physical, dominated by the trestle, the support structure for the railway bridge across which a huge steam train thunders every night. Unlike every other stagnant thing in their world, the train represents movement, adventure and the possibility of escape. But the escape is not going to come from hopping aboard: Dalton and Pace are caught up in a deadly fantasy of crossing the trestle as the train approaches. That this will never happen is underscored by Fiona Watt's bleakly minimalist set - the menacing trestle is like a gallows. And hanging is the fate that awaits Dalton, who is accused of murdering Pace, found under the trestle, her dress stained with his semen.
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Tragedy beneath the trestle
But these sensory assaults also serve another salutary function: keeping the audience awake. An arresting performance by Michael Pitt, a young stage newcomer, anchors the play in some affecting emotional territory, at least in the early scenes. Pitt plays Dalton, an open-faced, strapping lad whose irrepressible energies keep company with a naturally sensitive nature.
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