Plays are a great way to spend an evening — they are basically movies, but with a more personable, human component where one can truly appreciate the talent at hand. They offer the audience an opportunity to escape, if only for a couple hours, and become absorbed into a story that is playing out before their eyes. To experience this first-hand, “Laura” is a new play featured this month at the Tacoma Little Theatre, located in the Stadium District, that takes on a classical noir story of a murder mystery with multiple twists and turns.
Directed by longtime South Sound director Randy Clark, the story centers mainly around the interactions between detective Mark McPherson (played by Rodman Bolek) and Laura (played by Victoria Ashley). McPherson is called on to investigate the murder of Laura, only to have Laura show up at her residency in a dubious fashion. McPherson and Laura immediately begin to hit it off and become friendly with one another — a strange relationship indeed for a detective and a supposed victim. Laura is supposed to be dead, and that’s what her and everyone close to her had believed. The question arises: Is this the real Laura? As the story develops, different characters become involved with the mysterious circumstances and the audience is left playing the role of the detective, even as McPherson tries to dissect the situation himself.
The aspect of “Laura” that was uniquely interesting was the fact that the stage set remained constant throughout the play — each and every scene took place within the highly-detailed setting of Laura’s living room, where the murder supposedly took place. Detective McPherson remained in the residence throughout the play, but different characters entered at different points in the story, each adding new clues to the apparent murder. Initially, viewers could have been concerned that the scenery never changing would result in a monotonous story, but the masterful work by scene designer Blake York created such an intricate setting that audience members were constantly noticing details that were not noticed in previous scenes — keeping the entertainment alive.
If you want to enjoy a night out on your own or with friends or family, be sure to reserve tickets to the last four showings of “Laura” at 7:30 p.m. on May 9, 10, 11 and 12. This is a show that will keep you entertained and engaged throughout the entirety of the play — surely to leave you satisfied.