Tonight, I attended the staged reading of 26 miles at Parkside. I never attended a staged reading before this, so I did not know what to expect. What happens during a staged reading is the cast sits down in various chairs and reads from the script. There are no props. Instead, the narrator says what prop they would be using in the place. I liked it because since there was no scenery or props, it gave you the ability to imagine what everything was for yourself, broadening your horizons.
The play, 26 miles revolves around sixteen year old Olivia (played by Kate Christensen), who lives with her father Aaron (played by Jon Finnegan) and his wife. She receives a surprise visit from her estranged Cuban-born mother Beatriz (played by Kara Foster). Leaving her second husband, Manuel, (played by Stephen Marquardt) behind, Beatriz whisks her daughter away on a long-distance car trip to Yellowstone. Along the way, they discover love, understanding, and find out what family really means. Throughout the play, you see a developing bond between mother and daughter, yet at the same time, you see a shattering bond between father and daughter.
With all of the personality and acting skill on stage, it would not have made a difference if there were props or not. Kate Christensen portrays the role of Olivia perfectly. You can feel the emotion she pours out into her role, the pain, the anger, the excitement, everything. Kara Foster pulls off an amazing Spanish accent, making you think she really could be Spanish in real life.
With the two snow days we had this week, they lost two days of practice. The fact that they pulled off the play this well with two missed days of practice, makes me wonder if the play would have been even better. It is hard for me to think that. The play may be called 26 miles, but, I would drive 2600 miles to see this play again!