I had the opportunity to see my first production from the Reedy Point Players recently, and I only wish that it ran more than one weekend. I can remember reading The Outsiders in high school and being fascinated by the Greasers and Socs rivalry. The Outsiders continues to be on the American Library Association's challenged book list, and is banned in many school districts across the country.
The Reedy Point Players production of The Outsiders directed by Erin Miller touched on all of the emotions that I remembered feeling when reading this classic novel in my early teens. It's very impressive what The Reedy Point Players is able to do with such a small space. The production took place in the community center at the Delaware City Library.
Much like Tom in The Glass Menagerie, Ponyboy Curtis, played by Brandon Dawson, speaks directly to the audience, as though we were his diary. The Outsiders is very much a memory play in that way, and it feels very much like the novel. I'm not sure it's the most successful theatrical device, and I wish there was less narration and more action. However, Dawson does an excellent job of storytelling, as do the rest of the Socs and Greasers whenever they are acting out a story Ponyboy is telling.
I really enjoyed watching Sean Wagner's Johnny Cade grow from a nervous, soft spoken kid to someone who truly sees all the gold that the world can offer. Similarly, Kevin Austra brings a unique soft layer, hidden very deep, to the bad-boy Greaser Dallas Winston. It was actually the first time I understood Dallas, rather than see him as a hot-head with a chip on his shoulder. Austra shows us why Dallas acts the way that he does, something I find that is often missed.
Overall, The Outsiders at Reedy Point Players was a deep look into S.E. Hinton's story that I found very enjoyable, though at times less like a play and more like a reading of the novel; that is not a criticism of the acting, but rather the script itself. I look forward to seeing what else RPP puts together next season. The Outsiders only ran three short performances, but you can catch their next production. It's a staged reading fundraiser on Saturday, June 7 at Traders Cove Coffee Shop at Penn's Place in New Castle. For tickets, visit http://reedypointplayers.ticketleap.com/evening-of-staged-readings/.
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