Monday, June 23, 2014


The world of British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, courageous captain of an Antarctica expedition in the early 1900's, collides  in a Titanic moment with a mild mannered middle management minion, Walter Spivey, from the insurance realm of Hartford, CT. over a century later. Their divergent stories mix and mingle in a majestic manner that define what delightful theater going can and should be in "Endurance," at Long Wharf Theatre's Stage II until Sunday, June 29.

Performed with impeccable skill and talent by four intrepid members of the Split Knuckle Theatre, "Endurance" by Nick Ryan weaves together the same characters in twin tales of overcoming great obstacles.  Using only desks,  chairs, waste baskets and a lone filing cabinet, the cast imagines them into towers of ice and a ship battling brutal and bitter cold of the far north, and, only moments later, into the insurance offices of insurance giant BMI.

Jason Bohon, Andrew Grusetskie, Christopher Hirsh and Greg Webster are virtuosos of voice, savants of sound effects, masters of mimicry and just plain terrific as they flit from crisis in Spivey's boardroom to chaos in Shackleton's Antarctica expedition. The troupe came from London, by way of the University of Connecticut, and may, in fact, be relocating to New Haven soon.

The economic downturn at BMI in Hartford, CT has caused Walter and his buddies Larry, Mark and Ben to panic about their livelihood.  The company is downsizing and each man fears what that will do to their jobs.  When Walter is promoted instead of getting the axe, it initially looks like they have hope.

They soon discover, to their dismay, that Walter must almost single handedly save them and the entire firm.  How will he accomplish this, if it is even possible?  When he comes upon a book citing Sir Shackleton's fearless trip, when he saves his 27 member crew from the jaws of death for two  long and grueling years, he utilizes it as a platform to encourage his own team to greater heights of achievement.

For tickets ($35-55), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at  Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Pull up an office chair or hop aboard the ship the "Endurance" for a fascinating tour de force performance by this talented cast and crew.

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