FST’s Stage III production of Blackbird suffers from a fevered production.
Unfortunately, in this production, Blackbird is nowhere near as effective as it probably can be. The reason is simple enough: Under the direction of Beth Duda, Blackbird (your guess is as good as mine as to where the title comes from; there are several possibilities), starts out at a fever pitch from the opening lines, with rushed dialogue spouted at high volume, leaving it absolutely no room to build to what should be an emotional climax. Instead, there’s a lot of shouting and no nuance, especially in the performance of Dan Patrick Brady as Ray.
Sarah Stockton and Dan Patrick Brady in Blackbird.
Ray is a 50-something, not very successful office manager (at least that’s what we think he is) who’s accosted in the opening scene by the much younger Una (Sarah Stockton) in the litter-filled canteen of his company—a truly distasteful environment. (Duda retains the British base and accents of the original for this production, although it might have been better to go American, since it’s sometimes hard to distinguish Brady’s lines). Una is filled, at first anyway, with a vengeful spirit, and Ray is intimidated by her sudden appearance. Understandably, it seems, since it comes out soon enough that the two shared a brief affair more than a decade ago, when she was only 12 years old—an affair that led to Ray’s spending several years in prison.