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“We believe theatre has the potential to not just entertain, but to shape and transform our society and culture. Using theater as a medium to impact their community.”

Written by Stephen Dietz

Nathan Hicks, a Chicago director has joined with longtime friend and fellow actor, Brandon Ryan, to produce a work with years in the making. When Hicks first read Steven Dietz’s, Lonely Planet, he knew someday he had to share its message. That time has arrived. Partnering with Ryan, Hick’s vision will come to life this fall here in Seattle. As a collaborative production with Absurd Reality Productions, which Ryan is a founding member of, and The Shunpike this two-man will take stage this November at Northwest Actor’s Studio in Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Hicks and Ryan believe in using theater as a medium to transform our reality and impact how we live in the world. “We believe theatre has the potential to not just entertain, but to shape and transform our society and culture. Using theater as a medium to impact their community.”

Hicks and Ryan chose Steven Dietz’s, Lonely Planet, for its captivating, and formidable message left upon every audience member no matter their relation to the subject matter. It’s a profound story of humanism and the impact people have in this world upon those around them. The characters Jody and Carl, played by Hicks and Ryan respectively, apart and together face dying of AIDS. Though the characters never openly identify AIDS as their struggle the poignant layers of dialogue and symbolism breakthrough in such a way that it allows their story to be told. Lonely Planet, speaks strongly about a topic that needed to be dealt with, and continues to remain relevant in a culture eager to disregard unresolved problems. “As Steven Dietz has challenged us, we desire to tell his story as it opens the dialogue of a reality that is below the surface and scarcely discussed. During this time of heightened awareness, we wish to share warmth and hope in the world; we are not alone in our day-to-day struggles and we do have friends to help us through the times of hardship. This dependency is a gift often taken for granted. We are inspired to show this through the art of theatre, where innovative interpretations can help audience members gain a different outlook on the world in which we live.”

The Northwest Actor`s Studio
1100 East Pike Street
Tucci Theatre (Second Floor)
November 4-19, 2005, 8pm

Directed by Nathan Hicks
Produced by The Shunpike and Absurd Reality Productions
Featuring: Nathan Hicks & Brandon Ryan

Technical Crew
Set Designer - Nathan/James W. Hicks
Sound Designer - Regan DeVictoria
Costume Design - Nathan Hicks
Lighting Design - Trevor Scranton
Stage Manager - Jessie Kwak
Assistant Stage Manager - Amanda Stoddard
Sound Board Operator - Brian Walton
Light Board Operator - Kaitlin Dresdner
Kabuki - Amanda Stoddard & David Turnipseed


Joe Boling in Seattle Performs: This is a Stephen Dietz script I had not seen, so into the calendar it went. When I mentioned to an acquaintance that I had seen it earlier Saturday, she commented on how dark it is - and how. Here is a two-hander about friendship and isolation in the age of AIDS (which is never mentioned explicitly). Jody (Nathan Hicks, who also directed) either owns or manages a map store. Carl (Brandon Ryan) is a "nut case" friend whose shenanigans are barely tolerable. Carl has no visible means of support and is a congenital liar; he also is a hoarder, and Jody's store is his storage locker. Jody is insecure and lonely. Their co-dependency is the subject of the piece. Checkmarks to Hicks for acting and direction, and double checks to Ryan, whose rants will make your hair stand on end. If you have not seen this piece, you have one more week to add it to your life experience.

"Janet" in Seattle Performs: I was again impressed by the ingenious presentation of Absurd Reality Theatre. This company plumbs the depth of the human personality, especially the personality of the misfit, disenfranchised, and mentally ill. This particular treatment of Lonely Planet emphasized the value of friends and relationships in the community. I was impressed with the depth of feeling evoked for the main characters as they attempt to help each other in spite of their limited abilities to function individually. This play demonstrates the Adlerian principles of interior motivation for behavior, acting "as if," and the power of community as the smallest denominator of a healthy, functioning relationship. I enjoyed this serious, stimulating play. I especially appreciated the management of the stage and the value of the metaphor that was demonstrated throughout the play in language, props and the use of light and dark. I highly recommend this play to others interested in personality, coping skills, resiliency and the human condition.

Maggie Larrick in Capitol Hill Times: Like a traditional Kabuki play, "Lonely Planet" is also an ideal vehicle to showcase the actors' talents. Besides directing, Hicks plays Jody, bringing the angry denial behind his carefully armored solitude and the joy of transcending his terror to nuanced life. As Carl, Brandon Ryan is an acting force to be reckoned with. He has an acrobatic agility of voice and mannerisms - whether telling an amusing story about several different characters or revealing his fears - firmly rooted in equally fluent emotions. READ MORE...

Bret Fetzer in The Stranger: Nathan Hicks, who has the uncommon ability to seem utterly calm on stage, portrays a subdued, seemingly impassive Jody; Brandon Ryan launches into Carl's Albee-esque flights of anger and angst with twitchy imagination. Both actors are clearly talented.READ MORE...