Saturday evening we had the pleasure of seeing Backwards Forwards Back at the Urbanite Theatre in Downtown Sarasota. I walk by the theater every day on my way to work, and have been anxious to see a show there.
Located on the corner of 2nd and Central Ave, The Urbanite is a black-box theater venue, with a small, intimate setting. There isn't a bad seat in the house! I was really very impressed by the thought and attention to detail they put in from the moment you arrive, such as a complimentary glass of wine to take into the theater. You can truly tell that the entire staff takes pride in the experience you have while there.
Backwards Forwards Back is the current running production, and has been extended until April 30 running Wednesday-Sunday. If this post encourages even one of you to go buy a ticket and see this production before it ends, it will be well worth the time it took me to write this.
THE. MOST. BRILLIANT. PERFORMANCE. EVER.
Full disclosure, this was my first time seeing a one-man show and I was skeptical. Theater is tricky thing, and an hour long one-man show seemed to me like it had the possibility to drag. I could not have been more wrong.
This is the synopsis of the show straight from website...
"When a soldier returns from war carrying the ghosts of his tour, he’s faced with a sobering decision: address his alarming PTSD with Virtual Reality therapy, or risk losing access to his family forever. Can this new technology re-calibrate the brains and bodies of wounded soldiers?"
I was definitely intrigued by the subject matter, and the approach to integrating the concept of VR with PSTD treatment. But the true star of the show here was L. James who played the soldier, and absolutely SLAYED.
From the moment he walked on stage, he gave nothing less than 110% to his performance. The pure, raw emotion that exuded from every second of his performance was award worthy. He transitioned seamlessly from one scene to the next, the emotion never feeling forced or overplayed. Half way through the show you forget that he is even playing a role and not speaking of his own experiences from the heart. Even his interactions with the audience were perfectly on point and natural. There was not one moment of downtime in this entire show, and it was one of the most emotionally draining (not a bad thing!) journeys I have been on in quite while.
Bravo Mr. James. It was an honor.
Photos: All photos belong to the Urbanite Theatre