Milwaukee theater has been so good to me. I started off first semester in Marquette Theater’s Mainstage production of OUR TOWN. That show carried me home. I met Alex Coddington during the first read-through of OUR TOWN and I knew right then and there we would be best friends. This February, Alex was the Assistant Director for THE TRAIN DRIVER with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. It’s been a month since we went to opening night, and I still think about this show.
THE TRAIN DRIVER centers around the story of a man named Roelf (David Daniel) who hit and killed a woman while conducting a train. He goes to look for her remains in a graveyard on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The entire show takes place in the graveyard with the local gravedigger, Simon (Michael A. Torrey). Simon is gentle, kind, and takes pride in his job of burying the dead. Roelf is severely depressed, angry, and does not know what to do with his life. The relationship they form throughout the show has beautiful highs and heartbreaking lows. The chemistry between the two actors made the show. If you told me that they improvised the entire performance, I would believe you 100 percent. They played off of each other in the most realistic, yet surprising manner.
Two elements of the show that inspired me:
Accents: The dialects of the show included “Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English.” Both actors absolutely nailed their specific accent. I couldn’t imagine them talking in any other way. With your eyes closed, you could tell they were fully immersed in their characters.
Monologues: Both characters had several monologues that kidnapped my heart, broke it into a thousand pieces, and only returned half of them. The emotions were authentic and placed in a person or memory. Not to mention, David Daniel did an amazing job of capturing his character’s intense frustration with a quirky sense of humor.
Production photos? You got it dude!