WRLT explores father-son dynamic in ‘That Darn Plot’

awoolen@macon.comApril 25, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- A playwright writes a play about a play.

The story inside the story comes from the production of Warner Robins Little Theatre’s “That Darn Plot,” which opens Friday.

Mark Transom, played by Mike Castle, opens the play sitting at a desk surrounded by liquor bottles. His monologue, drunken and stumbling, portrays a hardened man who has lived a hard life.

He is challenged by his former girlfriend and director Jo Harbor, played by Melissa Armstrong, to write a play in one night.

Transom decided to write a play using characters from his life. Those include actors he has met as well as his estranged son, Loyd Transom, played by Tyler Bryant.

“When on a deadline, stick to what you know,” Mark Transom says as he slides a piece of crumpled paper into an ancient-looking typewriter.

While father and son struggle in “That Darn Plot,” the father-son characters also struggle in “The Cardboard Box,” which is the play being produced in the play Transom is frantically writing about.

As the play progresses, so does its comedic quality as Mark Transom, taking swigs from his bottle, has conversations with the characters. His characters begin to talk back to him during his all-night writing and drinking binge.

“When characters start making their own decisions, it’s time to take a break,” he says.

The stage director, Ivy Shreiver, is played by Renee Craycraft. Shreiver is a rule-follower to the umpteenth degree, landing her last play director on the wrong side of the law.

The gist of the play inside the play comes from tensions between father and son. The relationship is played out between Geoffrey Regeant, played by Terry Minyard, and Russell Croft, played by Canaan Ballard.

Ballard is a newcomer to Warner Robins Little Theatre and was a perfect fit for the part, said Director Bill Felton.

“I’m glad he showed up,” Felton said. “He’s just a bundle of talent.”

Although he doesn’t actually get naked, Croft threatens the cast a few times with undressing. His bare chest is the most the audience gets to see.

Though Mark Transom cannot see it, through his subconsciousness, his characters seem to have a life of their own and begin to rewrite his script leading up to a reconciliation.

Mark Transom has a different story line in mind, though, because his theme throughout is there are “no happy endings” to his plays.

Because, as Mark Transom reasons, “there are no happy endings in real life.”

“That Darn Plot”

When: 8 p.m. April 25-26, May 1-3 and 8-10; 2:30 p.m. May 4

Where: Warner Robins Little Theatre, 502 S. Pleasant Hill Road, Warner Robins

Cost: $16 general admission, $14 for seniors, students and active military with ID. On Thursdays, buy one ticket at regular price get second ticket at half price.

Information: 478-929-4579; www.wrlt.org

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