Looking inside ‘The Shadow Box’ of life and death

Everyone is going to die sooner or later. Although I’m sure most would rather die later than sooner, it is the one unifying experience that has plagued humanity since the beginning of time. Death makes us question our lives. Questions such as, if we only had more time to spend time with our loved ones, or accomplish a lifelong but far away dream.

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By Sandra Diaz

By Sandra Diaz

Everyone is going to die sooner or later.

Although I’m sure most would rather die later than sooner, it is the one unifying experience that has plagued humanity since the beginning of time.

Death makes us question our lives. Questions such as, if we only had more time to spend time with our loved ones, or accomplish a lifelong but far away dream.

In “The Shadow Box,” a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Michael Cristofer, we learn to abandon hope and face the inevitable.

The original production of “The Shadow Box” debuted March 31, 1977 at The Mark Taper Forum/Long Wharf Theatre starring Geraldine Fitzgerald and Mandy Patinkin.

Presented by Riverside City College’s Off Broadway Play Series, “The Shadow Box” took place in the Landis Performing Arts Center from April 26-29.

Directed by David Nelson, a faculty member of RCC’s Theatre program, the play follows three groups of families, conventional or otherwise, visiting loved ones who are dying of cancer, and have been sent to a hospice at a cottage in California.

The play follows these families as they learn to accept that the person staying at the hospice is going to die. The set was simple and very efficient with a lighted background of trees. It also seemed very detailed at such a close range.

It was a good choice to have the audience on bleachers on the stage, being so close to the action gave the play a more intimate feel.

There were a good number of actors in the production that were great at what they do.

Eric Craig’s portrayal of Mark was mixed.

Craig managed to break character a few times but made up for it in emotion and believability.

The star of the ensemble had to be Beverly with her outrageous clothes and mannerisms.

Played by Diane Taveau, Beverly brought liveliness to the group you almost forget why they are there in the first place.

Gabriel Morales and Lisa Shannon had a decent stage connection as the married couple Joe and Maggie.

While they seemed like a happy family unit for the most part, at other times it seemed like they didn’t even love each other.

Morale’s portrayal of Joe was touching and won’t be forgotten to soon.

The audience left the play in a somewhat somber and introspective mood.

“The Shadow Box” is not exactly a feel-good-tear-jerker, but a tear jerker none the less.

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