In Spring of Freedom, Summer of Fear, playwright Ali G. Ravi emerges on the Twin Cities scene as a playwright with a lot of potential. Ravi, who grew up in Tehran, came to the United States following the revolution in Iran in the early 1980s. His play, based on his own childhood, tells the story of how in a brief space of time the entire world shifted upside down for the people of Iran.
The play centers on two young men: Ali (Mickey Mittman) and Hossein (Jason Zednick). Ali’s family is middle-class, intellectual, and bourgeois. They are baffled, annoyed, and frightened by the new rules of the society around them. Hossein seems to come from a similar background. His family too doesn’t like the new regime, and can’t understand why the young Hossein now carries a machine gun and wears a military uniform.
|spring of freedom, summer of fear, presented through april 3 at the lowry lab. for tickets ($18-$20) and information, see tablesaltproductions.com.|
Ali is guided by the ghost of his father and brother. He faces Hossein when the guards come to search his family’s house. Ravi’s script does a good job of showing the dimensions of each of the two young men by placing each in the context of their families. Hossein acts like a brute to Ali and his family, but Zednick’s portrayal shows his inner conflict about his actions, especially in a scene with his grandmother (Andrea Guilford).
The script also incorporates mystical elements. Ghosts and spirits are woven into the narrative, guiding the characters and reminding them of their past. Laressa Dickey plays the angel, dressed in traditional Persian dress and dancing with gently whirling movements. Her character reminds the characters, subconsciously, of the traditions from which they come.
The main problem with Ravi’s script is that its climax is not particularly dramatic. The actors do an admirable job of creating believable characters, but the conflict doesn’t seem as heightened as it could be.
Though it’s not a perfect play, Spring of Freedom, Summer of Fear is worth checking out. I’ll be interested to see what Table Salt Productions, a new company formed last year with a mission to present new work by local playwrights, has to offer next.