The choice of “Taking Leave” by Nagle Jackson, directed by Georgette Richmond, proved a great start to the fifth season of The Naked Stage Readers’ Theatre last weekend.
Nagle Jackson is probably best known for his play The Elevation of Thieves – winner of the Onassis Foundation International Playwriting Contest, and many Molière translations.
Published in January 2001, “Taking Leave” is the story of Dr. Eliot Pryne, played by Mark Bennett. A 62-year-old English professor and expert on Shakespeare, particularly “King Lear,” Pryne is imprisoned by the ravages of rapidly escalating Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite the stringent limitations of Readers Theatre – no movement, costumes, set or props – Bennett’s portrayal demonstrated exceptional skill, as he used his mellow, powerful intonation and inflection, reinforced by appropriate facial and eye expressions, to convincingly convey the multiple facets of his tormented mind.