Few sounds are as particularly American as a train whistle in the distance, conjuring images of wanderers, faraway places and risky adventures. Playwright Barbara Lebow, best known for A Shayna Maidel, has heard the call and penned a piece that uses trains as both a setting and metaphor.
Trains, finishing its monthlong run at Santa Barbara’s Ensemble Theatre Company May 7, links two semi-related one-acts. In the first, set in the late 1800s, a black man travels on a private car with the young white boy in his care. Act two tells of two modern-day homeless men watching a train go by while they ruminate about their lives.
Frank Wittow, who staged Lebow’s Lurleen at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, directs Trains, which features Joseph Gibson and Roscoe Freeman as the four characters in the piece. Designing the show are Peter Gottlieb (lighting), Gary Wissman (set) and Barbara Lackner (costumes).
Other plays by Lebow include The Left Hand Singing, The Adventures of Homer McGundy, Tiny Tim is Dead and The Empress of Eden. Lebow has also served as a playwright in residence at Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Tickets to Trains, which started performances April 7, at Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara, 914 Santa Barbara Street, are $20-$28 and available by calling (805) 962- 8606. Next up at ETC will be Douglas Carter Beane’s comedy, As Bees In Honey Drown, starting June 23.
-- By David Lefkowitz