This one-woman play about mountaintop removal in Appalachia balances entertainment with its environmentalist message thanks to a nuanced script and outstanding delivery by Adelind Horan.
Mountaintop removal mining requires the massive upheaval of land in order to expose coal seams. Though a popular and cost-effective form coal extraction, this process can cause watershed disruption and consequential health effects for those living nearby.
Horan’s socially-conscious narrative could have been obnoxious and preachy, but Cry of the Mountain gives a fair account of all sides of the mountaintop removal debate by presenting a variety of characters in documentary-style vignettes.
The portrayal of both anti-mining pseudo-intellectuals and small-minded business men are skewering, and innocent victims of mountaintop removal get a chance to tell their often-ignored stories.
Horan’s intimate stage-presence and pitch-perfect characterizations makes the solo acting work flawlessly. Her only accompaniment is a banjo player, which helps to enhance the authentic feeling of Appalachia in the play.
You will also feel as though you are actually carrying on a conversation with her characters. At one point Horan even passes around a tray of fresh cookies to her “houseguests.”
In about an hour, Horan really illuminates the issue, leaving viewers informed and energized act on their newfound knowledge. This is socially-conscious theater at its best and a Fringe must-see. You’ve got three more chances to watch, one of which is tonight. See here for information on tickets and showtimes.
Photo courtesy of Whole Theatre