Monday, April 23, 2001 Raleigh News & Observer

Carrying a 'Tune' (Excerpts only)
The music stands

By Linda Belans

The script
"The script, which Storer directs in this workshop production, is culled from memories, conversations, Web postings and Thompson's own words in an unfinished biography Eustice found. So much is right with this work-in-progress, which toggles back and forth through time, contrasting Tommy before and after the diagnosis."

"There's humor, too. There would have to be with Tommy as the central character."

"Eustice, Hunt and Storer go deeper. They zero in on the inverse relationship of Tommy's decline to his growing connection to his daughter. ... And they focus on the unrelenting demands on Eustice and the decisions that have to made and the guilt for making them."

"As such a personal play, "A Tune for Tommy" has inherent challenges to work as a piece of theater and not a mere tribute. For the most part, the play triumphs."

The cast
"David Ring plays the central character and uncannily captures some of Tommy's mannerisms: the cock of his head when entertaining an idea, a particular twinkle in his eye, his halting speech."
"Marcia Edmundson as Jessie (Daughter, she's called), handles her part well. Daughter could easily slip into martyrdom or become maudlin. But Edmundson doesn't tell us how to feel. She offers us a wall to hang our own family photos on as she both narrates and interacts with Ring."

Summary
"'A Tune for Tommy' is Daughter's story told in a clear-eyed way that offers us a means for thinking about our own -- another opportunity to get it right, even when we think it's done. As T.S. Eliot says, 'What we call the beginning is often the end/And to make an end is to make a beginning/The end is where we start from.'"

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