Head ‘Into the West’ With Tantrum Theater Through August 19< < Back to
Turna Mete has a special place in her heart for Into the West, and not just because she’ll be performing as Ally, one of the theatrical version’s main characters, in Tantrum Theater’s production of the play through August 19.
“My mom loved the movie Into the West, and I watched it a lot growing up,” the Brooklyn-based actor said on an August afternoon in an interview with WOUB; less than a week after Tantrum Theater opened their production of the work in Dublin. “One day I was looking over a website that lists various auditions, and I saw that the play Into the West was being done – and it made me sit up straight! I didn’t know there was a play based on the movie, and I immediately reached out to the casting director to see if I could be seen for it. Cut to many months later, and I’ve gotten to know the people of Tantrum Theater and the great work they’re doing.”
Tantrum’s Into the West is a dazzling 60-minute tale of two children and their father, dazed and confused in Dublin after the death of their mother. Their father (artfully played oily and alcoholic by Greg Jackson) has been trying to soak himself in enough drink to clear his mind of the misery of his wife’s passing, while his children, Finn (playfully represented by Blake Segal) and Ally are dodging school and wasting the days away in their flat in front of the telly.
Everything changes when a mythical horse comes into the picture, taking the family on an extraordinary journey complete with hostile policemen, bewildered elderly people, and a masterfully rendered humanoid berry bush.
The expeditiously undulating plot demands that three actors manage to portray 60 roles – which seems insane, until you see the work in action.
Mete said that she was prepared, in part, for this demanding aspect of Into the West because of her work on a production of Patrick Barlow’s pun-tastic theatrical adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film 39 Steps, based on John Buchan’s 1915 novel of the same name. The play revolves around four actors playing the hero, Richard Hannay; his three romantic entanglements; and everyone else in the production, including some inanimate objects.
“The director of this show, Jen Wineman, is so amazing. She creates a safe space for us to create and play – there is no need for fear of being wrong in the rehearsal room,” said Mete. “I will say that because of the minimalist nature of this production and how we staged it, I really expanded my abilities; it’s been a little more of a challenge than I anticipated going in. It’s a wonderfully physical play – and even though it might not look like we’re doing that much, by the end we’re all dosed in sweat.”
One particularly respectable feat that the production manages to accomplish is the creation and maintanence of an imaginary horse – some 1,000 pounds of muscle and bone summoned onto the stage, completely conjured by the tight-knit cast.
“While in rehearsal, we would talk about the horse, how to come up with different ways to portray it. When we were first blocking the play Jen (Wineman) had us use something different each time to represent the horse – it was fun to imagine different ways to create the horse,” said Mete. “I think that just about every night I would get the note that the horse ‘had to be real,’ and especially for my character, that was important. Once we were in the theater, I think that the horse became a more real and beautiful thing. The horse itself was definitely a character, and it was important to think about how we relate to the horse, physically and emotionally.”
“This production is demanding and wonderful, and it feels like a gift to share it with the people I do,” said Mete. “It’s a really great band of kooky people putting on a great show that I find funny and endearing and sweet.”
“Into the West” will be staged at the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road in Dublin through August 19.