Foley loaded


David McDaniel and Louis Rooker contemplate the stone in <i>Waking</i>.

David McDaniel and Louis Rooker contemplate the stone in Waking.

Rated 4.0

The smell of the warm, salty ocean breeze mixes with the pungent sweet scents of honeysuckle, roses and a mixture of native Irish flowers. The weather has been unseasonably warm, particularly for a cottage so close to the shoreline. The sound of scraping rock is heard off to the right. An elderly man, tall and stout, but boasting of healthier days sits bent over a huge stone, carefully carving groove after intricate groove with little more than an iron mallet and chisel. Behind him sits a boy of 14, carefully perched on the gentle curve of a high sea wall. The boy has his back to the man as he faces the sea and secludes himself inside the barriers of his headphones. A woman, a number of years the man’s junior, sits quietly at the outside table fidgeting with her work, turning now and again to observe the two males. Their bodies may perch only a few feet from one another, but their minds, their hearts, span the sea—one lost in the past, the other unable to connect to it.

The door to the quiet seaside cottage bangs open. A man with a crutch and a vulgar limp bursts through. He stands looking at the woman, his expression damning. “I tried looking in the attic but all I found were boxes of your clothes.” His eyes narrow, accusing his father. “How long has she been living here, Dad?”

Synergy stage brings to America a wee touch of Irish pride and a daring look at the differences separating three generations of Foley men in all of their flawed, raw beauty—just in time for Father’s Day. Sacramento is in for a rare treat as Waking not only makes its local, but its U.S. debut in our own backyard.

Directed by Irish theater specialist and City College theater instructor Christine Nicholson (Measure for Measure, As You Like It, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf), Waking is a haunting tale containing classic drama mixed with a healthy dose of wit and human condition as only the Irish can tell it.

Written by award-winning Irish playwright Lin Coughlan, who has made a recent name with a number of play and film triumphs in Europe, and debuting with London’s Soho Theater Company, Waking continues to grow more successful. The play, most certainly in years to come, will be considered a true Irish classic.

The show stars Synergy Stage regulars Martha Omiyo Kight (Blood Brothers, Six Women With Brain Death) as Sarah and Peter Mohrmann (The Importance of Being Earnest, Twelfth Night) as Michael Foley, as well as two newcomers to the group—David McDaniel (The Wizard of Oz) as Brian Foley and Lewis Rooker (The Elephant Man, Our Town) as Sean Foley. The four bring the Foley clan to life and deliver strong, moving performances. While shows with smaller casts can pose as many, if not more, difficult challenges as larger-cast productions, this cast plays like a well-oiled machine, allowing the production to tackle the deeper levels of emotions beneath the basic father-son disputes.

Another factor that brings Waking alive is the rich set constructed by Luther Hanson, who overcomes the limits of the confined California Stage space to bring a small piece of the Irish countryside to Sacramento audiences.

With talented performers, excellent sets and a rich tale to tell, Waking is a sure bet for an evening of good, solid entertainment.