Saturday, March 13, 1999


‘Trees’ rooted in
strong performances


Trees At 8 p.m. Fridays, 6 and 8:15 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 and 4:15 p.m. Sundays, through March 21, The Yellow Brick Studio, 625 Keawe St. Tickets: $10, Fridays and Saturdays, $6, Sundays. Reserve at 591-7999. Information, 395-6564.

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


IN The Actors Group's presentation of "Trees," Carol Ann Dooley decides almost on the spur of the moment to protest the clear-cutting of America's old growth forests by occupying a logging company's observation platform. Her poorly organized protest has sputtered along for several weeks with a modicum of public notice when she impulsively announces she will kill herself if the loggers don't come to terms.

The probability of Carol Ann carrying through her threat never seems very high, but Dorothy Stamp touches the heart anyway as Mike Mazzola and The Actors Group present "Trees." Actor/

playwright Eric Nemoto doesn't presume to address the complicated issue in depth. This is the story of a woman facing her past.

Stamp does a believable job as a woman whose outlook matures during her 100 days on the platform. Doing without model-perfect makeup would add to the believability of her performance.

Nemoto provides a welcome comic edge as the cynical and somewhat obnoxious reporter who is ordered by his editor (Jack Rosenzweig) to cover the crusade. Tom Ivanvi adds a strong performance as the ghost of Carol Ann's brother; Ivanvi deserves more time on stage.

The ghost is one of several fantasy elements. The sympathy expressed by the logging company CEO (Peter Bunn) toward the crusade against his company seems unlikely. And would a hot investigative reporter be ordered off a big insurance fraud story to cover a one-person protest in a remote forest?

Director Mazzola gets a cohesive performance from the cast. Blackouts between scenes are slow but the recycled Christmas tree set lives up to expectations.

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