Loyal Fairman/ The Daily Nonpareil – June 7, 2018
“Lazarus Syndrome” by Bruce Ward opened May 31 for a four-week run at SNAP! Productions at 3225 California St. in Omaha.
I found this play very fascinating and had many surprises in it. The run time is 101 minutes and includes a short 10-minute intermission. The story is about Elliott, who is played by Brett D. Foster. He is very good as the former concert pianist who has been HIV positive since 1983. As Elliott he says “he knows where and when and who infected him.” But Elliott has survived for all those years while many people who were HIV positive have not.
A certain amount of guilt is involved in that, thus the title of the play “Lazarus Syndrome.” Why has Elliott managed to survive? He does take lots of pills everyday. He has stopped playing the piano except when he teaches it to kids. Elliott is terribly depressed. He moves around his apartment in a bathrobe.
In the beginning of the show, we meet Elliott’s lover and friend, Stephen, who is played by Thomas Lowe. He is younger and is an aspiring actor who has moved from the chorus to a speaking part in a touring production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Stephen loves Elliott and tries to get Elliott moving and also playing the piano again.
Elliott’s brother Neil is played by Matt Allen, who is an accountant and not at all like Elliott. He arrives at the apartment and also tries to get Elliott to do something to get out of the apartment. Allen is fantastic and his character is excited about life and eating. Elliott does have a pet gerbil that he keeps above the refrigerator in a cage.
The next member of the family to show up at the apartment is Elliott’s very traditional Jewish father, Jake, played by Brent Spencer. Jake is in his 70s and tries to get Elliott out and do something with his life. He has old-fashioned ideas.
The apartment set is fantastic, including a refrigerator, toaster, stove and dining room table, and it is really authentic looking with cupboards and a sink. The set designer for the production is Ben Adams. Taelore Stearns designs the lighting. The stage manager is Joann Goodhew, sound designer is Fred Goodhew and Rhonda Hall is the producer and in charge of properties. Costume designer is Leah Skorupa. Light and sound technician is Brian Callaghan.
The setting is perfect and the cast couldn’t be any better in this production. Although it is a serious drama, you will be laughing throughout with very witty dialogue and funny situations. “Lazarous Syndrome” has a lot to say in a short time. It is well worth your attention. The twists at the end are remarkable.
“Lazarous Syndrome” runs through June 24. Curtain times are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays except on June 24 when the curtain is at 2 p.m.