Favorite

Beautiful words 



‘Towns Facing Railroads’
Arkansas Repertory Theatre
Jan. 22


For those who haven’t yet experienced the rich imagery and drama of Jo McDougall’s poetry, “Towns Facing Railroads” at the Arkansas Rep’s Second Stage is a great place to start.

The expressive three-person cast of JoAnn Johnson, Nancy Eyermann and part-time Arkansan Joseph Graves brings McDougall’s words from 71 poems to life in a series of vignettes, covered in one act, about small-town life in Arkansas. The town names of Hoxie, Wabbaseka, Hope, New Smyrna and such ring true as places that were built up against railroad tracks, many of which were welcoming passenger lines as late as the 1950s but now barely see any rail shipping traffic at all.

Each actor varies his or her tone and accent to suit the many characters and styles required –- Johnson was Katherine Hepburn-like in one delivery. Graves jumps around with the energy of a man half his age. Eyermann, young and beautiful, conveys the innocence of small-town life and experiences.

Love, farming, family, pets, the people of the towns, the events that highlighted life there such as the traveling circuses, and death –- they are all significant subjects woven together by McDougall’s words. And what words and lines they are: “a Cadillac polished like a Steinway,” “the toothpick pelican that bowed when you left,” “death has a musty breath.”

Set designer Mike Nichols makes great use of the tiny space, with an imposing portion of a picture frame serving to anchor the stage on the left; an old, rickety train track curving away from the center, and simple, unvarnished woodwork throughout serving as benches and walkways.

All the elements combine for a well-spent 70 minutes.

“Towns Facing Railroads” continues through Sunday, Feb. 5, on the Second Stage, an 80-seat small box on the second mezzanine level of The Rep, at 601 Main Street. All seats are $25.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jim Harris

  • Riverfest turns 40

    Party with Wiz Khalifa, Morris Day and The Time, Cold War Kids and more.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • Review: Postmodern Jukebox at Clear Channel Metroplex

    The band’s shows cover most of the songs that have either been Youtube viewing sensations or are already album classics with that PMJ touch, such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake, Shake, Shake” and Radiohead’s “Creep.” Consider us blown away though by the show’s main set concluding number of The Postal Service/Ben Gibbard-penned “Such Great Heights” done as if by the Jackson 5 in an “I Want You Back” styling.
    • May 6, 2017
  • Review: Boston at Verizon Arena

    As it was, nobody left the arena and into a suddenly chilly April night saying, “I wished they’d played [song name].” Boston played it all, whether you wanted it or not.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in Theater Reviews

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Spero heads up songwriting camp

    • Way to go Spero, I am so proud of you. This is awesome.

    • on July 28, 2017
  • Re: The edge of night

    • The eclipse would be the perfect time to place the holy goat on the Capitol…

    • on July 27, 2017
  • Re: The edge of night

    • I would hate to plan on a site only to find it cloudy or raining…

    • on July 25, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation