By Edward Kliszus

The Varsity Theater Company presented Shedding Load at 59E59. Tonight’s one-act version of Shedding Load provided a glimpse of the play rehearsal process, cast chemistry and interactions, and reactions to artistic direction from the directors.

We witnessed the work of actors engaging in monologues and dialogues. We viewed the subtle, sympathetic reactions of colleagues engaging in the analysis, interpretation, and portrayal of the script by the author of this evening’s work, contemporary playwright Jessica Owens.

This type of event represented an exciting portent of American theater. It garnered an intense attraction to those who understand and appreciate the vitality and expressive power of dramatic arts. This art form helps us empathize, care, reflect, and remember.

We may have witnessed the next Laurence Olivier, Samuel L. Jackson, John Gielgud, Sidney Poitier, or Daniel Day-Lewis in this array of creative energy and talent.

Of special note tonight was Teddy Trice as Kenny in his rich, profound, and stirring closing monologue. His was an apposite denouement–after all, tonight’s play characterized hope, “family secrets,” and “generational trauma.”

Beyond the cast, we can appreciate courageous playwrights like Jessica Owens and anticipate new seminal works akin to Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, or Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman.

The season is in full swing, and theater lovers can still get in!

Runtime for the full production is 75 minutes. Some adult content.


Teddy Trice as Kenny
Marlina Devery as Trish
Robyne Parrish as Nancy
Derrick John Marshall as Ben
Nick Trotta as Joseph
Renrick Palmer as Randall
Eric Ruffin as Joey
Dominique Lawson as Ned
Portland Thomas as Kendra
David Belleville as Carl
Kala Ross as Kendra Understudy
Joy Katherine Donze as Trish/Nancy Understudy
Milton Lyles as Kenny/Carl Understudy
Ulric Alfred Taylor as Joey/Randall/Ned Understudy
Jonathan Weiner as Ben/Joseph Understudy


Playwright, Jessica Owens
Director, Mia Walker
Scenic & Video Design, Brian Pacelli
Costume Design, Debbi Hobson
Lighting Design, Colleen Doherty
Sound Design, Carsen Joenk
Props Design, Brittany Steele
Casting Director, Sujotta Pace
Production Stage Manager, Adam Sherwin
Assistant Stage Manager, Kiva Wise
Urban Planning Consultant, Chandra Christmas Rouse

Production Theatre Team

Producing Director, Jessica Owens
Associate Producer, Isaiah Brooks
Technical Director, Mike Mroch
Technical & Production Advisor, Aidan Carr
Master Electrician, Colleen Doherty

Read about the Varsity Theatre Company at:

59E59 Theaters
59 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022

For information and tickets, go to

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of AUDIENCE, The Players Art Exhibition, Field of Mars at NYU Skirball, and Thunderbird Dancers.