Miranda title

reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

James Still, IRT’s playwright-in-residence for the past 19 years, authors the company’s latest offering for The Upperstage – Miranda. The play is the final installment in Still’s trilogy about an extended family. Previous pieces were The House that Jack Built, and Appoggiatura – the latter being listed as one of IRT’s productions next season.

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Jennifer Coombs, Mary Beth Fisher and Torrey Hanson in IRT’s production of “Miranda”.

Miranda is an exploration of many things in today’s world including: the lives of CIA field operators, their assortment of circumstances in a dangerous Middle Eastern country, the suspicious feelings toward Americans in that region, and the relationships of people from diverse cultures including those of like or different genders. In a tale where no one is who they seem to be, we watch a sort of “slice-of-life” presentation of the title character’s situations as she moves through identifying her status in her work, in her relationships, and in her future.

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Arya Daire and Jennifer Coombs in IRT’s production of “Miranda”.

Henry Godinez makes his IRT directorial debut guiding a stellar corps of actors led by Jennifer Coombs as Miranda. Ms. Coombs’ naturalistic approach to her character is on the mark and genuine. She shows that the agent has great strengths and weaknesses, but primarily comes through with a balanced persona. Rarely leaving the stage, Miranda faces a collection of acquaintances, co-workers, an informant and a delightfully quirky youth. Torrey Hanson and Mary Beth Fisher render strong depictions in double roles as friends and co-workers. Arya Daire is impressive as Dr. Al-Agbhari, whose intelligence is of great value to Miranda. And Ninos Baba is engaging as young Shahid, whose interest in Shakespeare, and especially in Othello, forms a compelling undercurrent in the story arc. (All, except Ms. Fisher and Mr. Hanson, make their IRT acting debuts.)

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Arya Daire, Jennifer Coombs, Ninos Baba and Torrey Hanson in IRT’s production of “Miranda”.

Although I, in my viewing of the play, did not ever feel much sense of the “mystery” and “thriller” which was advertised for this event, the production was both fascinating and pleasing. Director Godinez’ staging on the multi-location setting, designed by Ann Sheffield and lit by Alexander Ridgers, was interesting and seamless. Linda Pisano’s costumes had an authentic feel, as did the sound design by Andrew Hopson. What intrigue there was seemed more a product of the setting than any rising action in the plot. The climax in the action seemed to be quite subtle – merely allusive. As I say, I was entertained, to be sure, but the play seemed less mysterious than I expected and to that end, it was a surprise.

Miranda continues on IRT’s The Upperstage  through April 23. For more specific information on dates and show times visit IRT’s website at http://www.irtlive.com/ or call 317.635.5252.

  • – Photos by Zach Rosing
  • – Artwork by Kyle Ragsdale
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