Pierce College’s latest theater production, Ironbound, directed by Christian Barillas, opened Friday night and told a beautiful story with a memorable performance by the cast.
Ironbound is a story about Darja (Olia Panasenko), who is a Polish immigrant who moves to New Jersey with her first husband Maks (Itzhak Matos). The roughly 90-minute play follows her years after moving and the men who have come into her life. Tommy (Kris Hernandez) is one of the love interests and Vic (Joshua Gould) is a man who helped her in a moment of need.
The play is equal parts funny and dramatic and the actors were to blend the two extremes together.
The play opened with Darja and Tommy having an argument because he’s been sleeping with other women and Darja confronts him about it. It’s a heated argument but there are some comedic lines that were delivered perfectly. Even through an emotionally draining argument, Tommy’s dry delivery made the scene funny and enjoyable to get through.
From the first scene, Panasenko’s skill as an actress shined. Her voice gave emotion and desperation during the scenes where she was yelling that it sounded like she was on the verge of tears. Her facial expressions seemed so natural that multiple times throughout the show, it didn’t even feel like there were actors performing on stage, they were just real people.
There were also moments that showed Darja leaning into a crazy side of her and Panasenko seemed to take that on. She had a manic look in her eyes and her voice was borderline hysterical. Her performance did the character justice.
Matos’ performance was short but impactful. His first scene with Darja was a flashback that was moving, funny and sad in the end. Matos did a great job expressing the emotions that Maks was feeling with his facial expressions and lively attitude.
Vic was the most comedic character and Gould portrayed that well.
Vic’s scene with Darja encapsulated what the whole show was like. It was hard to watch Darja go through all the challenges she was facing, but it was made easier to swallow with each comedic line throughout the scene.
The special effects also added so much to the show. The lights that were made to look like car headlights were particularly helpful in setting the scene, as well as adding a cool effect to the actors on stage. There was also a timeline being projected onto the back wall in between each scene that was helpful in following the story.
But by far the best use of special effects was toward the end. The back wall lit up with lights and a moon to portray a night sky. The music that played and the lights hitting Darja made the emotional scene particularly beautiful.
The show had a few obvious errors, like a candle not lighting or a jacket not zipping up but nothing so drastic that it made the show impossible to get through. The few errors that happened were quickly made up for by the performance of the actors and the stage crew.
The play was beautiful in all aspects and didn’t leave room for disappointment. The actors gave a wonderful performance in telling a story of love, heartbreak and dreams.