Oars up, get ready for a wild and historical ride with ‘Men on Boats.’
~Photos and Review by Dana Nöllsch~
Good Luck Macbeth invited us to a rehearsal of Men on Boats, and we were delighted to say yes. Here are some photos and my thoughts about Men on Boats.
“Men on Boats” Let’s talk about the adventure.
Men on Boats is the true-ish story of ten explorers on four boats taking on an epic adventure down the Colorado River. John Wesley Powell, a one-armed war veteran, and accomplished explorer, led this group of brave adventurers through the uncharted wilds of the as-of-yet un-named canyon that was to become the Grand Canyon.
This play has a twist; women play the roles of these historical characters. I was skeptical, but these actors own their roles with such passion for telling the story that I cannot imagine that Men on Boats would be as good, cast any other way. Now understand; the historical characters are still men in the play, but women actors play each character.
Let’s talk more about the story. The U.S. Government contracted John Wesley Powell to chart the unexplored Colorado River and its canyons in 1869; this would be the second attempt to do so, the first resulting in failure. Nine would join Powell on this epic adventure, each with their own motivation, as we find out as the play progresses.
Powell was an adventurer with a taste for facing challenges others would never consider; this made him the perfect leader for this expedition. Losing an arm in the war did not slow Powell down; he was determined that his limitations would not become his liabilities.
The journey was harrowing; they lost a boat with a third of their provisions, the rapids were treacherous, and the falls were worse. The challenges were too much for some as others thrived. The story has elements taken from the explorer’s journals, so this is a history lesson as well as entertainment.
You should wait until after you see Men on Boats to read more about the expedition, and I promise you will want to know more about the men who lived this adventure.
Let’s talk about the cast.
Wonderfully cast, Men on Boats is a lesson in how an ensemble cast can come together to tell a story but more than that shows how a group can come together to create a tour de force. Watching the rehearsal, it was evident that the cast was having fun nurturing the characters to life.
The director, Abby Rosen, told me how lucky she was to have such a talented cast to work with. I have a feeling the cast would say the same about her.
Fun, Entertaining, and educational, Men on Boats is an excellent time for you and your family.
Written By JACLYN BACKHAUS
Directed by ABBY ROSEN
JESSICA JOHNSON as MAJOR JOHN WESLEY POWELL
CLAIRE HACHENBERGER as WILLIAM DUNN
JUDY DAVIS ROUNDS as JOHN COLTON SUMNER
LIZ O’NEIL as OLD SHADY
JASMINE JOHNSON as GEORGE BRADLEY
LILY PEREZ as O.G. HOWLAND
EVELYN MEJIA RONQUILLO as SENECA HOWLAND
MICHELLE CALHOUN as FRANK GOODMAN
AMANDA MCHENRY as WILLIAM HAWKINS
CHARLIE CHAPPELL as ANDREW HALL
APRIL 28 THROUGH MAY 20
For Tickets and more information, go to: goodluckmacbeth.org
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