Rime of the Ancient Mariner

“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Poem in Seven Parts
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Directed by Delia MacDougall & Jim Cave
Z Space & Word for Word

Thursday, September 26, 2019. 7 PM

Rhythm: Rime: Response

The poem is a classic, cited by hundreds as the most valuable epic poem of its time (1798). Z Space and Word for Word intend the production of “Rime” to evoke response from audiences to “nature’s power, beauty and fragility,” well depicted in Coleridge’s romantic poem. The production is wonderfully set, the staging is well-conceived and executed, the actors speak and respond well. But, Coleridge’s poetic rhythms, although well recited, become ponderous and alas, a bit boring for a 21st century audience used to quick TV shows and movies.

Charles Shaw Robinson has the heavy responsibility for the poem’s recitation and although some of the lines are shared with other cast members (Robert Ernst, Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, Partricia Silver and Randell Wong), the tempo and execution of deliver seems not sufficiently varied. Perhaps it is the vast depth of the Z Space house or the nature of story itself, but, as my friend suggested, ‘it needs updating.”

The set is a wonderful boat deck surrounded by curved areas for the ascent and descent of the magical characters suggested in the text; (e.g. The Sun, The Moon, The Polar Spirit, Life in Death, Death). Yet these characters continue their lines with similar delivery as the Mariner. Oliver DiCicco & Colm MCNally get credit for the set. Nol Simonse, choreographer, gives the cast good movement moments. This reviewer wished for more; perhaps a sailor’s dance to stir the recitation rhythm.

Rime” is well-intended and beautifully staged and well dramatized.

As it continues its run, perhaps the telling will find a more dynamically varied delivery.

Joanna G. Harris