Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 15, 2008


Greene Room Productions, Monson
through May 16-18, 2008
May 14, 2008
By Donna Bailey-Thompson

"My no good, dirty rotten pig-stealing great-great-grandfather!" is the rationale spouted by Stanley, the hero of "Holes," for being wrongly accused, convicted and sentenced to a juvenile detention center preposterously named Camp Green Lake: there is no lake, no lanyard-braiding, no s’mores. Further, the camp uniform is an orange jumpsuit, the camp talisman is a long-handled shovel, and every day every "camper" has to dig a five by five foot hole. The soil is the desert sand in the wilds of West Texas, the home of rattlesnakes and poisonous lizards. Stanley’s orientation is brief. Because of the camp’s remote location, there are no fences; to run away would be tantamount to running into death.

"Holes" began as a novel (1998) by Louis Sachar; the book won many awards including the National Book Award. The play premiered in 2002 and the 2003 movie starred Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Shia LaBeouf .

The cast is huge – 32 characters – ranging from children to the middleaged. There are, seemingly, separate story lines, that begin in 19th century Latvia, switch to Texas at the beginning of the 20th century, and come together in today’s West Texas. There’s a gypsy, Madame Zeroni (Deb Sprout) and the pig-stealing ancestor as a young man (Kasey Greene). There’s Sam, the onion man (James-Ethan Linton) and schoolmarm Katherine Barlow who transforms herself into the outlaw, Kissin’ Kate Barlow (Emmy Cote).

Most of all there are the delinquents – Xray (David Clark), Magnet (Jin Choi), Armpit (Joe Masterjohn), Zigzag (Jacob LaPierre), Zero (Josiah Durham) and Stanley (Paul Adzima) – each one a full-fledged character. Adzima is outstanding. Produced and deftly directed by Erin Greene, the all-volunteer crew and cast have created a polished production

As farfetched as it may seem, "Holes" and the perennially popular, "The Christmas Story" (think Red Ryder BB gun) are similarly engaging. Both pass the family entertainment litmus test. However, "Holes" exudes non-stop energy.