By Rachel Flanagan
Ellen Neary and Chris Stack
Photo by Darrett Sanders
On a cold, dark night, three siblings gather together on a bed sharing warm, hopeful stories of their futures with one another, but the warmth doesn't come and the stories just more chilling as each year passes in this dark and disturbing ghost story and memory play by rattlestick Playrwrights Theater's Daniel Talbott. What Happened When is an unsettling look at how the secrets of a dark and troubling history take three siblings on three different dangerous twists over the course of six years in a puzzle that the audience must piece together to feel the spine tingling tales from the ghosts of the past.
The story is revealed through tiny fragmented conversations by three siblings in a dark bedroom. Big brother Will (Chris Stack) tries to keep their time together more lighthearted by making jokes and asking questions and talking about a happy future, all the while ignoring the poor steps for a future that he has made for himself. Ellen Neary plays the quiet sister Sam, who internalizes her struggles until she can no longer contain them and has to find a way to free herself from her pain. Jimi (Randall Clute) might be the strongest one of all as he doesn't quite realize how damaged he truly is, because he just doesn't really talk about it. It would be a spoiler to say anything more as one must face the ghosts on their own to truly understand the harrowing tale and experience the fear of putting each piece of the puzzle in its proper place.
Echo Theater Company's artistic director Chris Fields directs while set (Amanda Knehans), lighting (Rose Malone) and sound (John Zalewski) create an intimate setting where the audience can get close and personal and feel the tension as it surrounds them in impending darkness. What Happened When is not your typical ghosts story but exposes the shadows that lurk behind anyone and the deep wounds that they can create, some of which can never be healed. The current cast runs through April 26th but will return over the summer and the fall with a new cast and the secrets they'll be hiding. Make a date to go see this at least once, if not with all three casts.
What Happened When
April 12 - 26, 2018 Returning July 25 - August 23 and September 26 - October 18
Echo Theater Company at Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Avenue, Atwater, CA 90039