Tangent Theatre’s ‘Vandal’ a must-see

“The Vandal,” produced by the Tangent Theatre Company in Tivoli’s Carpenter Shop Theater, is a rare opportunity for an audience to see a new play written about the local community.

Billed as “a dark comedy about lost souls intersecting on a cold night in Kingston,” the play was written by Hamish Linklater, features Samuel Hoeksema, and Equity players Michael Rhodes and Jill Van Note and is directed by Amy Lemon Olson. This production is only the second time the play has been staged – the first was in New York City.

The Observer talked with the three cast members and the director before the official opening March 6. The conversation focused on the play’s title. The word “vandal” has been defined as “one who willfully or ignorantly destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public.” For those familiar with the script, the question then is: “Is truth a property of its owner – can one vandalize the truth?”

The cast and the director obviously spent significant time evaluating and discussing the concept of truth – or the lack of truth – in preparing for their respective roles. And they have created characters from Linklater’s script that will keep audiences engaged for 80 very thought-provoking minutes.

Samuel Hoeksema as Boy in ‘Vandal’ running through March 30 in Tivoli. Courtesy Photo / Tangent Theatre
Samuel Hoeksema as Boy in ‘Vandal’ running through March 30 in Tivoli. Courtesy Photo / Tangent Theatre

Samuel Hoeksema (Boy) is a young, very talented actor, to whom the author has given a character who has so much to tell – about how the world is and how he fits into that world. The stage is his when he speaks!

Jill Van Note (Woman) delivers each line and movement interpretation with such strength and command that she brings forth the many emotions of her character. It is also clear that she has done her intellectual homework – she knows well the contemporary thinking on the subject matter at hand.

Michael Rhodes (Man & Artistic Director) should be acknowledged both for his performance and his wisdom in bringing this piece to the Tangent stage. His character is the bridge, the link, between the others, and he often provides answers to even unasked questions. And he does it all with the calm grace of a seasoned performer.

Director Amy Lemon Olson and her cast and crew have created a play not-to-be-missed, in a compact, fast-moving and engaging fashion. This is cutting-edge theatre at its best.

Tangent Theatre Company @ the Carpenter Shop Theater
60 Broadway, Tivoli
Runs through March 30
Thurs. – Sat. 8pm; Sun. 3pm
Tickets: $20
For more info, tangent-arts.org

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