Speaking of their theater, I imagine they wouldn’t say "no" to a new one, but we’ve
grown accustomed to the large stark room above the pool hall. (It’s above a
pool hall at the back alley, but beneath Morgantown Florist at the Spruce Street
entrance.) The location is perfectly adequate, with air-conditioning and stepped-up
seating. The experimental space--call it theater in the making--seems more exciting to us
than other, more polished locations. Here, the suicidal teen in The Deer and the
Antelope Play seemed more lost. The women whose men were off to war in
Waiting for the Parade seemed more desperate, and all sexy characters seemed
more honest under low lights against dark walls and black curtains all around.
Acting and directing are always superb, and the company is growing. We’ve seen seven of
their productions, almost all of them with totally different casts, so we are aware of how
much talent has remained in this university town after graduation. They work in
conjunction with WVU Division of Theatre on some productions, but the ones we’ve
seen have been mostly more mature casts.
Teen suicide, the death of a woman coal miner, prejudice, and war--these are topics I’ve
seen M. T. Pockets handle with ease and with such talent that audiences were
mesmerized, not grumbling about the heaviness of the content--audiences at the
company’s theater are mostly mature. This doesn’t mean they don’t perform comedy just
as well, but a significant percentage of their selections are serious sociological or
intellectual drama--a welcome alternative when most theaters won’t take a chance on
anything but comedy.
Their location on Spruce or at the Mountainlair makes it possible for us to plan full
evenings out downtown amid a myriad interesting, unique restaurants, cafes, and pubs,
and for visitors staying at the Hotel Morgan (a Clarion) or at the new Radisson on the
Riverfront, walking to the theater is easy. For those driving to Morgantown, parking isn’t
difficult on side streets.
Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
, West Virginia
November 24, 2003
From journal Morgantown for Dinner and a Play
July 29, 2003
We are excited as we walk down Spruce St. to the awning of Morgantown
Florist--that’s our landmark. Miss it, and we miss the door to the steps down. It’s not a
"beatnik" cellar, either, so we don’t expect style. The room with commercial tile floors,
fluorescent ceiling fixtures, and black velvet curtains strung all around is a temporary
home with all the basic requirements: air conditioning, adequate stage lighting, and
elevated platform seating on stackable chairs. Voila! Theatre! Now it’s up to the cast to
create the illusion. To see what kind of spell they plan to cast, we consult their website:
M. T. Pockets.
A great number of plays conform to the company’s stated mission: to create parts for
women. However, the performance schedule deviates from this objective occasionally to
offer Twentieth Century intellectual favorites, like Waiting for Godot, and visiting
events, such as An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein. We’ve seen three plays
there: The Deer and the Antelope Play, a Texas family drama about teenage
depression, by Mark Dunn; The Death of a Miner (a woman coal miner) by Paula
Cizmar; and most recent, Waiting for the Parade, a character study of five women
without their men during WWII. All have been well-acted and directed with sets and
costumes that seem authentic.
We chose the downtown theater Saturday night in preference to the West Virginia Public
Theater production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. My favorite character in Waiting
for the Parade (set in Calgary, Canada during the 1940’s) was the German woman
who kept reminding those who scorned her: "I’fe liffed in Calgary since I
vas eight." She sang in German--even smoked like a German--and was
appropriately gruff. Another character, the "do-good" organizer of the volunteers, was
justifiably too intense, and her stiff jaw was convincing. Another was pert, curt, and sexy
as she painted lines (seams) on her legs. It was a bravado performance that
received a standing ovation--chairs and feet clattered on the wooden platforms as we all
clamored to get up.
We share the excitement of this company. Indeed, no guest at their performances could
avoid interest in the group, as well as the plays. They are succeeding in creating a
community proving ground for talent the area is overflowing with. The need was there,
and M. T. Pockets fills it.
From journal Morgantown: Sunshine Fairies and Theater Wizards