Macfarlane is in town to star in the world premiere of “Reverberation” by Matthew Lopez, now in previews. The show opens Wednesday, Feb. 25, and runs through March 15.
“I read it three times before I even talked to anyone about it,” says Macfarlane, when asked about first receiving the script. “It was interesting the first time I read it because I went, ‘Oh, I get this guy.’ The second time was, ‘Oh, I can do this.’ And the third time was, ‘Oh, do I want to do this because I know it was going to be hard because this character is in so much pain. Every play is about really investigating a character’s deepest feelings — but not quite like these particular feelings.”
In “Reverberation” Macfarlane plays Jonathan, who lives alone and isolated in his apartment building in Queens. “Something happened to him the year before which really caused him a great deal of pain and causing him to withdraw from the world.
“Jonathan’s father was a military man and Jonathan, in light of the trauma that happened to him, tries to re-engage through musculature and by building armor: by being tough, by working out and becoming physically stronger.”
Macfarlane says “Reverberation” is a play in which the audience, at times voyeuristically, looks at three characters — Aya Cash and Carl Lundstedt play the other roles — during their most intimate moments that include sex, drinking and violence.
“It is Matthew’s most haunting and imaginative play,” said Hartford Stage artistic director Darko Tresnjak last year in introducing the season lineup. “It is also rather frank — about love and sexuality; gay, straight, and in between — in our time. At the end of the day, inspiration and faith in our audience won the day. And a competitive streak kicked in: I wanted Hartford Stage to get the credit for premiering this beautiful work.”
Says Macfarlane:” “The play really deals with the question: How do you reconnect with the world and have a relationship again? And then it moves on to ask — which is to me the more terrifying question — what does intimacy really mean? It’s not just two actors naked on stage. It’s how do we become close and open up to somebody? And that’s frightening — and dangerous. Those are the scary questions for me.”
Despite Jonathan’s deep problems, says playwright Lopez, the character “is nurturing and has a deep well of compassion and Luke has that inherent kindness. He is also unafraid to stare into the abyss without being swallowed up by the darkness.”
Says director Maxwell Williams: “It’s a demanding role and you need serious chops to be able to do it. The character has charisma but more than that he has to be genuinely likable and truthful. You have to be brave and believable and then on top of that be a leading man.”
“REVERBERATION” runs through March 15 Hartford Stage, at 50 Church St., downtown Hartford. Recommended for ages 18 and above. Adult themes, language, nudity, violence. Tickets are $25 to $85 with student seats at $20. Information: hartfordstage.org and 860-527-5151.
Editors note: The illness of one of the actors has canceled the Feb. 19 preview performance of ‘Reverberation at Hartford Stage.
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