Director Fusco Offers Insights to 'Trevor'

Posted: Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 5:31pm

Michael Fusco shares the following director notes in the program for Trevor, opening Friday May 5 at the Curtain Players 5691 Harlem Road (Galena OH 43021) playhouse.

The Nick Jones play — inspired by a true story and focused on the relationship between a retired show-biz chimp and his middle-aged handler/”mom” — runs May 5-6, 12-14, and 19-21. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 PM. Sunday matinees have a 2 o’clock start time. Order tickets by clicking here. Patrons may choose their seats based on availability.

Fusco writes:

In February 2009, Travis and his owner Sandra Herold gained international notoriety after he suddenly attacked Herold’s friend Charla Nash, blinding her while severing her nose, ears, and both hands, and severely lacerating her face. He was subsequently shot dead on the arrival of the police after he tried to attack an officer.

In reimagining this actual news event and retelling the story through a dramatic structure similar to that employed by Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman, playwright Nick Jones has fashioned this clever dark comedy that reminds us of the danger of expecting animals — even highly domesticated ones — to behave as humans, and the critical role that effective communication plays in any successful relationship.

Just last May, Cincinnati Zoo officials reluctantly decided to shoot dead Harambe, a 17-year old Silverback gorilla after he was handling a 4-year-old child who had fallen into his enclosure. Critics of the decision interpreted the gorilla’s actions as protecting the child, but zoologists and keepers like Amanda O’Donoughue agreed that the child was in grave danger of serious injury or death. In a Facebook post she explained, “I keep hearing that the Gorilla was trying to protect the boy. I do not find this to be true. Harambe reaches for the boy’s hands and arms, but only to position the child better for his own displaying purposes. Males do very elaborate displays when highly agitated, slamming and dragging things about.”

Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” An irony of today’s culture is that while technology makes it possible for us to almost instantaneously express our every thought to a vast number of people, we are often not listening to each other and responding in a meaningful way and thus, we are communicating less.

Fortunately, communication has not been a problem for the very talented cast and production team who have joined with me to bring this exceptional piece of theatre to the Curtain Players’ stage. Our process of exploring and preparing has been a true collaboration and, for me, one of my best theatre experiences ever! We hope it is one of yours.

Finally, this show has a Westerville connection. The role of Trevor was created off-Broadway by Steven Boyer, a Westerville North High School graduate (who was nominated for a Best Actor Tony Award in 2015 for his lead role in Hand to God) and currently one of the stars of NBC’s comedy Trial and Error which just concluded its first season.