Home Consumer World Premiere Of ‘Footprints’ Is Earnest But Awkward History Lesson

World Premiere Of ‘Footprints’ Is Earnest But Awkward History Lesson

Clint Hooper and Melissa Hubicsak share a quiet moment in New Theatre’s world premiere of Sandra Riley’s Footprints

The world premiere of Miamian Sandra Riley’s Footprints at New Theatre clearly establishes the playwright’s deep love and extensive research into the early history of South Florida and the efforts of a real-life married couple to preserve its natural wonders over 35 years.

But theater is not a history lesson, even when taught through the prism of the lives of these loving creative souls who banter and encourage each other’s dreams, Mary Barr and Kirk Munroe, who were early bayside settlers in Coconut Grove.

Barr, in particular, was instrumental in creating a network of “Women’s Clubs” that enhanced the social and education institutions in the region, and then pioneered efforts to save the Everglades from developers.

But structurally, the play is hampered by Riley’s well-intentioned dump of boatloads of expository factoids and scores of period-establishing references. All of it is unloaded not in dialogue but in stilted pronouncements in which one person tells someone else something that the other person knows (sometimes even telling them what they did) so that the playwright can educate the audience.

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By Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, for  SouthFloridaReporter.com, Feb. 8, 2016 

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