Originally posted on Medium


Egress as delivered by Amphibian Stage productions is an emotional, riveting and intense work that leaves audiences asking new questions about gun control they might not have walked in posing.

Ripped from an age where headlines informed readers of armed gunmen on college campuses breaking the serenity of the Ivory Tower scene and its positions of female power, Egress, as a work inserts hefty amounts of soliloquy into dialogue between two core female characters as portrayed by Jessica Vera and Sky Williams with character names as simple as “You” and “Woman” as assigned by playwrights Melissa Crespo and Sarah Saltwick.

Swamp scenes with barely clad “man” portrayed by Garrett Storms emerging out of the nebulous areas on Amphibian Stage’s amorphous take on the proscenium and theater on the round are equally intriguing as the animal ends of seduction and the East Texas side of male hypnotic supremacy is explored. These scenes stand out over others with the protagonist depicting attraction interrupted by a violently abrupt Western shootout and failed connection beer with a soft male sweater wearer at a party in their delivery, intensity, and sense of climactic conflict.

Man in this scene stands out as an overconfident obstacle to overcome and sex object of incredbile force.

Jessica Vera’s intense, nervous and uncomfortable performance of a UT Austin professor whose uncomfortable life is unraveling is incredibly convincing. Its intensity suggests a level of skill and training that experienced actors possess. The range of emotion required in most of Vera’s scenes is so varied that choosing between method acting and the humanistic approach to character psychology as sole methodologies might seem an impossible choice.

Sky Williams portrays Woman well with an excellent range of emotion portrayed in a supporting character. Her ability to pull a scene along as the lead actress explores uncomfortable silent spaces and emotions is impeccable.

Egress as delivered by Amphibian Stage productions is an emotional, riveting and intense work that leaves audiences asking new questions about gun control they might not have walked in posing.

The production stage at Amphibian Stage is a dynamic space where an island and excellent lighting combine with minimal and flexible sets to take Egress’s barrage of postmodern clips from a projector and a professor’s presentation serving as soliloquy to a surprisingly engaging level of audience engagement. Excellent acoustics combine with dramatic spot lighting that changes so drastically with every scene Lighting Designer Adam Chamberlain deserves a nod.

Kaitlin Hatton could be a little tighter pre-show after audience admission in direction of stage hands and their movement through the curtain — but thankfully showtime is seamless.

The Greek muses are clearly present at this stage that bills itself as breathing both in air and in water, and founded by TCU Theater Department alumni Jay Duffer and Kathleen Culebro. Their passion for theatre shines through in this theater and this production of Egress, its premiere before it heads to Utah for further examination by western markets.

Egress as a tragedy and as a riveting call to control guns on college campuses as a contemporary issue by recalling news items of the past — is engaging without being preachy or over the top in terms of emotionalism all the while being intensely emotionally charged.

Its asynchronous storytelling modes, varied presentation in scene, embrace of tense moments and reliance on sparse sets makes for a work with post-modern sensibility that manages to embrace enough elements of classical storytelling and dramatic presentation to strike an excellent balance between actor, scene and set. A beautiful sense of discordance and disharmony eventually reaches a crescendo in a declaration for the type of idealism the protagonist and playwright desires.

A very special thanks to Kathleen Culebro of Amphibian Stage Productions and Sundress Academy for the Arts of Knoxville, TN for their support in writing this review.

A don’t-miss production from one of North Texas’ most consistently groundbreaking theaters.