BELLWETHER at Marin Theatre Company is a hit

Rachel Harker (Maddy), Arwen Anderson (Jackie Draft) and Gabriel Marin (Alan Draft) in the world premiere of Steve Yockey’s Bellwether, now through October 30 at Marin Theatre Company.

BELLWETHER: Drama. By Steve Yockey. Directed by Ryan Rilette.. Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. (415) 388-5208 or

October 11- October 30, 2011

BELLWETHER at Marin Theatre Company is a hit

If you have ever wondered where the bogeyman (also spelled bogieman, boogeyman or boogieman) resides, other than under beds and in closets, go to Marin Theatre Company’s (MTC) stunning production of the world premiere of Bellwether. If you want to see a scary Steven King type of plot laced with scathing satire on how TV media ghoulishly covers the abduction of a child, go to MTC. If you are desirous of seeing top-notch actors perform as a perfect ensemble, yet have individual actors standout when it is their turn on stage, go to MTC. If you want to cheer spot-on direction (Ryan Rilette) with dramatic writing go to MTC. If wish to admire a brilliant set (Giulio Ceare Perrone)and staging with disregard for many unanswered questions and plot twists, go to MTC. You will be witness to all of this in the brief 100 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission, running time.

The term “bellwether”, non-capitalized, refers to the leader of the pack or sheep that leads the herd often wearing a bell. In Yorkey’s play the leader is intrusive news media and the bell is the TV camera. Bellwether with a capital “W” is the name of a place, a suburban gated community where the ensemble of residents led by Maddy (Fantastic performance by Rachael Harker) in the opening scene informs us, is a “nice” idyllic place to live and bad things do not happen here. That is going to change.

Alan Draft (Gabriel Marin) and wife Jackie (Arwen Anderson) have moved with their seven year old daughter from a city apartment to Bellwether. When their daughter is missing from her room, deep recriminations arise between the two, most of which involves assigning blame. Marin and Anderson are perfect in the roles, adding nuance to the histrionic writing that pulls the pair apart yet never breaking the tie of love, even when they become suspects by the police and community.

The three TV reporters (Liz Sklar, Marissa Keltie, Mollie Stickney) intrude and comment on the ongoing storyline and add a much needed touch of humor while fomenting distrust of the Drafts. They double as neighbors along with Danny Wolohan and Patrick Jones who also play the unyielding detectives assigned to the abduction case. The emotional change in the ensemble of neighbors from their goody-goody demeanor in the opening scene to a mob mentality is appropriately frightening.

To tell more of the story would be unfair. When you do go, and you should, you will be thoroughly entertained even though there are loose ends that will probably be tied together in future productions.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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