Lewiston

7 reasons you should see this show, with no exaggeration at all.

By Andrew Andrews

Alice (Leigh Strimbeck) and Marnie (Montana Lampert Hoover) discuss the fate of the family ranch in Bridge Street Theatre's production of Samuel D. Hunter's Lewiston. Original photos by John Sowle.

Silver-haired Alice Lewis is about to sell the last 20 acres of her family’s once-vast North Dakota ranch to a condo developer, in order to make ends meet.

When a 24-year-old backpacker shows up at Alice’s fireworks stand and criticizes Alice for letting go of the property, it takes a while for Alice to recognize the young woman as her estranged granddaughter Marnie, who has returned to carry on as steward of the land.

While Alice’s housemate Connor tries to smooth things over, Marnie sets up camp and demands that Alice sell the land to her instead of the developer, for a fraction of what it’s worth.

As the stand-off continues, the backstory of Marnie’s disappearance is slowly revealed, along with the early death of Marnie’s mother, and a bit of biography on their distant relative: explorer Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame).

Bridge Street Theatre has gone to great lengths to make this a safe and enjoyable experience, and excels on seven counts:

Marnie arrives to find Alice and Connor (Daniel Hall Kuhn) discussing the latest offer to purchase the ranch for condo development.
  1. Premium Air Filtration: The theatre has installed not just one, but two machines to purify the air in the performance space. Even if I wasn’t wearing a mask, I’d feel that I could breathe freely!
  2. Double-Checking Vaccinations: Beyond just looking at proof-of-vax, this is the first venue I’ve encountered that actually bothered to scan my Excelsior Pass to verify its authenticity.
  3. Social Distancing: In addition to the standard requirement that everyone stay masked while indoors, Bridge Street is making sure to leave empty seats between you and your neighbors—unlike our recent visit to Broadway, where the audience was tightly-packed to make as much profit as possible from every performance.
  4. A Good Story: Long-time subscribers know that I love a tale that holds on tight and doesn’t let go. Lewiston is a strong script full of tension not just on every page, but in practically every sentence. My only complaint here is that the destination wasn’t quite as thrilling as the journey.
  5. Powerful Performance: All three actors are perfect for their parts and completely believable in fulfilling them, no doubt thanks in part to expert direction. I hated Marnie for having “turned into quite the little brat over the years,” empathized with Alice over her situation and admired Connor for knowing his strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Beautiful Design: The set design was as realistic as it gets, accentuated by convincing lighting effects and authentic (albeit obviously recorded) sound effects.
  7. Friendly Staff: Everyone at Bridge Street is clearly happy to welcome you back to live theatre, and their passion for sharing in your experience comes through during every interaction.

With so many reasons to attend this show, it’s no surprise that the two members of my Meetup group who joined me enjoyed it as much as I did… and in once case, even more.

4

Andrew Andrews attended Lewiston at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill on Friday, October 8, 2021 @ 7:30pm to write this review.