The Alliance Theatre’s “Sheltered,” this year’s winner of the company’s Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, features Park Krausen (left) and Amanda Drinkall. CONTRIBUTED BY GREG MOONEY
Also rather blatant and clumsy is the period play's concerted effort to establish contemporary parallels to our current events. Speaking of displaced refugees, it isn't enough to hear Osorio's Martin say, "That's their problem," or, "Why worry about things you can't control?" There's more from him — about "putting America first" (as opposed to making it "great again"), and drawing a line on immigration (instead of building a wall).
“Sheltered” finally defines and delivers a thoughtful and heartfelt balance in its compelling and haunting second act. Leonard and Evelyn, now situated in a drab hotel room in Nazi-occupied Vienna, are negotiating with the Gestapo — and torn, reluctant parents — about the rescue and relocation of 50 Jewish children.
The husband and wife grapple with the painful reality of the process, the arbitrary choosing of which children to save and which to sacrifice. And the drama truly culminates in an emotional, beautifully orchestrated sequence between Drinkall and Lauren Boyd Lane (as a sadly conflicted Jewish mother), pondering the personal obligations of being a good parent, the spiritual relevance of being a good Jew, and the basic decency of doing the right thing as a human being.
Under the astute direction of Kimberly Senior (who staged the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Disgraced” on Broadway), their acting finesse essentially “turns (this) recipe into a meal,” as one Sobler character might note — albeit in a quip decidedly worthy of Coward.
Through March 25. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. $20-$57 ($10 for teens). Actor's Express (at King Plow Arts Center), 887 W. Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, www.alliancetheatre.org.
Bottom line: Initially uneven but ultimately worthwhile.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Guillermo del Toro is fresh off winning Best Director and Best Picture at the Oscars. “The Shape of Water” filmmaker announced this weekend that he is starting an annual scholarship for up-and-coming filmmakers to study abroad.The announcement was made Saturday at the Guadalajara Film Festival. It came after the first of a series of masterclasses del Toro is giving during the week-long festival. Named the Jenkins-Del Toro International Film Scholarship, the $60,000 prize will be given annually at the