‘7 Years’ Continues Tonight

The world premiere of an original play by Shannon Nixon opened at the Studio Metro Underground Theater on Friday evening.

The play ”7 Years,” is an account of a lengthy relationship between two good looking, young actors. It’s a difficult one in which they can’t live with each other, and can’t live without each other.

The production is being presented as a workshop with the actors carrying their scripts in hand, with the playwright making changes as she witnesses her words on the actual stage.

We first meet Avery and Laurence as they arrive at a theater to begin rehearsals for a play called ”Forbidden Love.” She is only 20 years old, but she has already played a number of serious leading roles, such as ”Streetcar Named Desire.”

He is 26, and has never acted before. He has been a professional hockey player, until an injury has put a premature end to his career, but the director of their new play believes his looks and his charisma are so great that he will be a success in a leading role, despite his lack of experience.

Amanda Wickmark plays Avery, and Adam Hughes plays ”Laurie,” as Avery calls him. Both are as good looking as the script says they are. The play has 10 characters, which are enacted by eight actors, with two doubling smaller roles. It’s always both exciting and yet challenging to see a brand new play.

The challenge is that words we write and which sound reasonable and meaningful to us, can seem uncomfortable when spoken aloud. ”7 Years” has two challenges. The alternating love and hatred between Avery and Laurie is too repetitive. They love each other and can’t stop doing so, but they both hate each other, and can’t overcome it. That’s fine, but once they’ve declared that, they could stop discussing it.

The other problem is that Avery’s character grows considerably as their relationship nears its seventh year, but it deserves more depth. Great beauty alone is not enough of a reason for either Laurie or the audience to like this woman, at least until the very end. She says horrible things to people, especially to him, and seems to have no redeeming humor or qualities to justify his deep devotion.

The small, intimate Studio Metro Theater is a perfect setting for the production. The audience is close to the actors, and can hear and see well.

The rest of the cast includes Don Hill, as the director who first decides to join Avery and Laurie. He also serves as the evening’s narrator.

Michael Centi plays two roles, as does the playwright, herself. The rest are Kori Reynolds-Hughes as Alice, Paul Schermerhorn as Danny, and Ylsa Giuffre as Evelyn, the woman Laurie seeks out in an effort to expunge Avery from his life.

”7 Years” repeats this evening at 8 p.m. the Studio Metro Underground Theater is on the Fourth Street Side of the Spire Theater Complex.