by Steven Doyle photo by Justin O’Keith
The cast of Elwood are regulars seen at the Ochre House Theater located in the Exposition near Fair Park, an area studded with interesting bars and restaurants which seems to be enjoying a surge of interest with those weary of the more bustling lifestyle of Deep Ellum, its closest neighbor. The theater enjoys the avant garde, but very palatable even for casual theater-goers. Most productions have a musical element to them, and the 50-seat theater typically will feature a four-piece band of musicians which also perform sound effects for each play.
Elwood was written by Matthew Posey, an actor, playwright and founder of the theater who was gunned down last year in Deep Ellum. Posey was part of Undermain Theatre in its early years in the 1980s. He started the Deep Ellum Theatre Garage and was involved in other theatrical ventures. He has appeared in several films and TV shows, including True Stories, No Country for Old Men and the 2016 season of American Crime. Posey started the Ochre House in 2008 as a small venue for experimental plays mostly written by him and members of the Ochre House company, such as Kevin Grammer and Justin Locklear.
The play itself is about an introspective and troubled man haunted by the memories of his love interest who took her own life, leaving a child (not his) behind to protect from his nefarious and criminal father. Set in the piney woods of Canton Georgia the play is rife with interesting characters, some obvious and over-the-top which lend themselves to this suspenseful and often comedic theme.
Lucifer himself slowly picks away at the various characters preying upon their flaws with his sole desire to obtain the child under the care of Elwood.
The play is also dotted with a bit of song and dance which is expertly choreographed on the tiny stage.
Both Christian Taylor (Elwood) and Elizabeth Evans (plays the late love interest, Cordelia) are standouts in this production, with minor characters portrayed by Quinn Coffman (Florida), Monet Lerner (Tennessee) and Chris Sykes (Harley Tulips) provide comic relief.
The Ochre House production of Elwood plays through November 17th. Ochre House is located at 825 Exposition Avenue. Tickets may be purchased online.