Two Powerful Actresses Help WEPG’s “This Wide Night” Give Power To An Extended One-Act

Jane Abling and Rachel Hanks share a pizza and conversation during “This Wide Night” at West End Players Guild. Photo credit: John Lamb.

This Chloe Moss drama is really a character study about two women who shared a prison cell and are both trying to cope with the outside world- and each other- in the squalor of a London tenement. Thanks to two great performances, “This Wide Night” transcends its simple premise and gives us a raw, gritty look at two lost souls as brought to us by West End Players Guild.

Marie, the younger of the two women, has been out of prison for a while. Intruding her uneasy life is her former cellmate, Lorraine who has just been released and looks up her old “buddy.” Tension fills the small room immediately as Marie- a nervous wreck already- greets her friend with hostility and almost manic behavior. Lorraine tries to rekindle the bond they achieved behind bars but there’s always a space between them. As one draws closer, the other pulls away. It’s a cat and mouse game of trying to reach out but allowing mistrust and fear to get in the way.

Rachel Hanks gives a wonderful performance as the angelic yet devious Marie. She has secrets that keep her from forming a kinship with Lorraine and, as we see later, may endanger her life. Jane Abling brilliantly plays off this psychosis as Lorraine and brings a power to the stage that is subtle yet effective. These two must have wrung themselves emotionally and physically during the rehearsal process because they are truly giving their all on stage.

Jane Abling comforts Rachel Hanks during a powerful moment in West End Players Guild production of “This Wide Night.” Photo credit: John Lamb.

Director Sean Ruprecht-Belt has taken this week long event in these two women’s lives and brought us a gripping story that seems slight but packs a punch as it unfolds in eleven scenes over an hour and a half. It can be excruciating at times, but it’s all worth it to see these two actresses at the top of their game. There’s no program credit for dialogue coach but, with a few exceptions, the ladies held their rich dialect true to form throughout. The squalid studio apartment is perfectly rendered by Tim Grumich and Tony Anselmo’s lights add to the pathos.

Not what you may expect, “This Wide Night” gives an insight into a world few of us may ever experience. It was commissioned by Clean Break- a theatre company in England working with women in the criminal justice system. So it’s a slice of real life from a grittier and darker side that shows just how difficult it is to adjust after the horrors of prison life. See “This Wide Night” at WEPG through November 18th. Contact them at http://www.westendplayers.org for tickets or more information.

 

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3 Responses to “Two Powerful Actresses Help WEPG’s “This Wide Night” Give Power To An Extended One-Act”

  1. Joyce Casseau Says:

    Rachel Hanks continues to grow in each role she plays… bravo!

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