Searching for a unique, memorable way to celebrate St. Valentine’s with a sweetheart? Go see Echo Theatre’s current production of Arlene Hutton’s nostalgia romance, the award-winning The Nibroc Trilogy at the Bath House Cultural Center. Billed as “5 actors, 3 plays, one love story”, it’s a three-play cycle tracing the initial courting ritual and consequent married life of a charming, deeply in love, small-town Kentucky couple from the 1940’s into the post-war era. Purchase a Festival Pass to pick and choose three performance dates to attend, or take in all three plays in one day on one of the two “Nibroc Festival” dates, February 21 and 28.
The first part of the trilogy, Last Train to Nibroc, opened February 5 to an enthralled, near capacity crowd. Morgan Justiss and Ian Sinclair, as the couple May and Raleigh, trade gentle barbs and polite revelation with thorough sincerity and a natural conversational style. Well-matched and engaging, they imbue Hutton’s lyrical script with a veracity that is both a tribute to America’s “greatest generation” and very accessible to today’s audience. Co-directors Ellen Locy and Pam Myers-Morgan capitalized on both actors’ appealing looks, talents and delightful stage chemistry. In elegant balance, they create an aura of romantic intimacy while keeping the play fairly clipping along. The play’s three scenes are set upon a railroad car seat, a park bench and a porch swing. The focus stays on character interaction while clearly revealing time’s passage and setting change, a simple but effective design motif. Nibroc rocks. It soars. It beguiles. It buries sweet memories in a real gentleman’s proffered hankie and restores faith in the values of character and integrity, in the promise of true love.
The Nibroc Trilogy runs through February 28 and includes Last Train to Nibroc, See Rock City (opening Feb. 12) and Gulf View Drive (opening Feb. 19). Advanced reservations are strongly recommended.