Carol’s Culture Corner: STORIES FROM THE ZONE filled with “splendid characterizations”

Rod Serling’s Stories From the Zone is playing at Theatre 40 in repertory with Alex Goldberg’s It Is Done. This production brings two of Serling’s television tales to life onstage, adapted and co-directed by award-wining set designer Jeff G. Rack who co-directed with Charlie Mount.

The first story, Mr. Garrity and the Graves, takes place in 1890, in a small town in the Old West known as Happiness, Arizona. When a stranger shows up in town by the name of Mr. Garrity, he gets the attention of the town folks when he tells them that he is able to resurrect the dead. Naturally, no one believes Mr. Garrity’s boastful remark until a man shows up with a dead dog in a basket, asking him to bring it back to life.

Sure enough, everyone sees this miracle and begins paying him the fee he requests to work his “magic” to bring back their lost relatives and friends. But all of a sudden they realize that it might not be such a good idea. By that time, however, Mr. Garrity, who tricked the citizens of Happiness, has disappeared with their money. What happens next, after Mr. Garrity gets away with their money in hand, remains to be seen!

The second story, Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? takes place at a much later date in a diner on a very snowy night. We hear a loud crash outside, and a call comes in reporting the landing nearby of a UFO, followed by a group of people who arrive at the diner. They are all passengers on a bus bound for Boston, but they became stranded due to a nearby bridge that has become impassable. Two State Troopers arrive to inspect the diner since they found footprints from the downed UFO leading to it.

The Troopers learn from the bus driver that he had six passengers on the bus, and lo and behold, there are seven people who showed up in the diner! Could one of those people be an invader of Mars who has come to overtake our Planet Earth? When strange things happen in the diner, it is obvious there is an alien amongst them. But no one looks any different from any other person from our planet. If one of them is not, how will the Troopers ever find out? You will be left in the dark until the final moment.

The cast, each performing a role in both plays, includes Mark Bate, John Wallace Combs, Yancey Dunham, Harry Herman, Richard Large, Meghan Lloyd, Brianna Parcel, Brian David Pope, Philip Sokoloff, Toni Trenton, Roger K. Weiss, and Jeffrey winner, while the Narrator of both plays is performed by Jeff G. Rack, all giving splendid characterizations with their performances.