If there is one theme that I love seeing presented, whether in live performances, movies, or television, it would have to be that of the 7 deadly sins. When I heard that Force of Nature Productions would be doing a show based around this theme, I was beyond thrilled.
Aptly titled 7, the show is prepared using a technique called RUSH. For those not familiar here is some information on what to expect from a RUSH performance: “A RUSH is an original plays festival that takes place over the span of 3 weeks surrounding a selected theme. The actors, writers & directors are paired into teams via a lottery. To raise the stakes, additional concepts based on the theme are also drawn. Like incorporating a lyric from a song or adding props that writers must incorporate into their scripts. The writer then has 5 days to produce a script and the director has 3-4 rehearsals to get the play ready. They all come together one night to tech the show before Opening Night and play for 3 nights only! An entire show from concept to final bows is done in just about 3 weeks.” (quoted from the 7 program)
Now that you are familiar with RUSH, let’s get into the performances. Since the show lasts about 85 minutes and there are 7 separate stories, each one runs approximately 10-12 minutes and is incredibly impressive considering what these creators pull off in such a short run time. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of the 7 deadly sins (which come on, who hasn’t seen SE7EN) they surround the following: Envy, Sloth, Lust, Sin, Greed, and Gluttony. Though a few performances stood out among the rest, I have to give the whole cast and crew credit, as it’s apparent that a lot of blood, sweat, tears, passion, and love went into each and every performance.
On a personal level, my favorite performances of the night went to “Lust – Ante Up” and “Gluttony – Conduit”. Ante Up, which was written by Michael Knowlan and directed by Jahel Corban Caldera featured Susan D. Marlowe, Stephen Anthony Bailey and Sebastian Munoz. To see the complete transformation that our main character goes through was remarkable, as she presents herself as timid and innocent only to mutate herself into a brazen woman whose taste for sexual pleasure has turned deadly. The actors never missed a beat, no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter got, while the audience hung onto every word up until the surprising climax (see what I did there?).
Conduit, which was written by Emily Charouhas and directed by Andy Shultz featured Danielle Swanson, Brett Gustafson and Walter Kartman. I’m a huge sucker for horror that has a religious undertone and Conduit satiated that need for me. It was a perfect mixture of psychopathic tendencies (cue Brett Gustafson’s incredible performance), religious fanaticism, and survival by any means that I wish this was a full blown film that I could watch. The chemistry between the three actors was believable and palpable, so much so that I felt like I was watching a true crime story come to life in front of me.
With all that being said, I have no critiques for 7 as I truly felt like it was one of Force of Nature’s best productions. What I have learned, now that I have experienced two RUSH shows, is that there is always going to be something for everyone. Though 7 has already concluded their run, as it was only for three days, you’ll definitely want to make sure you are following Force of Nature Productions (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) so that you can stay up to date as to when their next production is. Though I enjoy all the shows they put on, I truly think their strength is in their RUSH performances, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.