Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: Sender
CSPS Legion Arts — through Aug. 24
Mirrorbox Theater is ready to ask some tough questions with its Iowa premiere of Ike Holter’s Sender this weekend. Questions like, “What really matters?” and “How do we define ourselves and our relationships?” The performance tackles the big issues of who people are when they are alone and who they are in relationships with others.
From the startling opening to the end scene, Jo Jordan as Tess is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the show, Jordan is at once raw, honest and vulnerable. Complementing Jordan’s stellar performance is an amazing ensemble. In the opening scene, Lynx (John Miersen) has just resurfaced after a year where he was presumed dead. Miersen’s character is at once self-righteous and self-effacing, while trying to reconnect with those he loves the most.
Mic Evans plays Jordan, one of the people Lynx left behind. Evans quickly develops a precise character who is uncertain about his life and the lives of those he loves. One can feel the character’s desperation in not knowing what to do as Evans moves through the scenes. Olivia Lestrud plays Cassandra, a woman who takes care of business, her boyfriend and anyone who would interfere with her plans. The ensemble these four actors create is outstanding in every way. Their dialogue is authentic; their emotions are raw; and the questions their interactions pose are real.
Sender is the third part of Holter’s seven-play Rightlynd saga (all based in Chicago and published by Northwestern University Press); Mirrorbox produced the second, Exit Strategy, last year. For its part, the script offers the audience an incredibly artfully rendered set of relationships with a variety of complications. Direction by Cavan Hallman (Mirrorbox’s Artistic Director) is on point in this production. There is no wasted space and every moment is meaningful.
The simple set, designed by Doug Anderson, serves the purpose of lending a background to house these relationships. Lighting (Jim Vogt), costumes (Noel VandenBosch) and stage management (Jamie Hein) all work together seamlessly — so much so that it’s almost imperceptible how well they are done.
In the end, nothing is neat. Conflicts remain, and people must go about their lives, no matter what happens around them.
Sender runs two more performances, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23-24. Tickets are $15.