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Dark drama ‘Nocturne’ to open at thestudio@620

Bill DeYoung

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Alan Mohney Jr., left, is directing Drew Eberhard in the drama "Nocturne." Photo by Bill DeYoung.

As a theater director, Alan Mohney Jr. has a knack for turning small spaces, and small casts, into something extraordinary.

The St. Pete resident directed Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist nightmare No Exit (cast of three) in November at the Off-Central; before that he helmed Caryl Churchill’s futuristic two-hander A Number at the same venue.

Mohney’s back in action this weekend with Nocturne at thestudio@620. A play by Adam Rapp (Red Light Winter), it is a one-man drama packed with explosive emotional firepower.

“It recounts a terrible and tragic turn of events,” the director explains. “It’s about guy who is a writer. One day, when he was 17 years old, he accidentally killed his little sister. The brake line on his car went out, he ran over her, and that was it.

“It’s the story of what he went through after that happened. How he hurt himself in the accident, how his parents’ marriage completely disintegrated, how he became estranged from both his mother and his father, how he could never ride in a car again.”

Drew Eberhard plays the unnamed 32-year-old writer who, before everything came tumbling down, had been a piano prodigy.

“I almost get the sense,” continues Mohney, “that from the author’s perspective he has to write this to get it out of his system so he can move on with his life. It’s a situation that almost seems impossible to happen in real life, but it’s something that absolutely could happen in real life.”

Nocturne was first produced in 2002. “It’s written unlike anything else I’ve ever read. I think the original concept for the show may have been to do it as a staged reading, because the dialogue is so incredibly dense and rich. But we’ve found a way to put it on its feet.”

Indeed Mohney relishes a challenge, making something small appear so much bigger.

Rapp’s script, he says, is “very vague. It doesn’t offer any insight, from the writer’s perspective, of what the space should be or what the space should look like. So it really just lets me have free reign as to what the picture is. What the space looks like.”

Once venue director Bob Devin Jones greenlit the production, both Mohney and Eberhard began envisioning the set – creating it out of whole cloth.

“We’re doing some different stuff with the use of books on the set,” Mohney reveals. “We’re partnering with Tombolo Books; they’ve donated a bunch of books to us that we’re going to use throughout the show. “

Of course, thestudio@620’s upright piano figures in the storytelling, too. “We’re finding a really interesting way to use the space at 620,” says Mohney, “in a way that I’ve not seen it used before.”

Nocturne runs Jan. 18-20; Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

Find tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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