The Thrush and the Woodpecker by Steve Yockey

Lily Janiak SF Chronicle 8/7/16
Repartee, fantasy and horror at Custom Made 

Custom Made Theatre Company is billing its latest, Steve Yockey’s “The Thrush and the Woodpecker,” as a revenge play. That’s accurate, but it’s also just one of the genres this strange — at times wondrously so — play takes on.
But soon, the show verges into other tones. It becomes, variously, philosophical — asking when one should follow one’s conscience in the face of major consequences — fantastical, poetic and even horrific. (The play’s title winks at a certain Hitchcock horror flick.)
…but it’s a testament to Tracy Ward’s direction that even from the beginning, the show doesn’t feel entirely naturalistic; an eerieness suffuses Brenda and Noah’s every parry.

 

“The Thrush and the Woodpecker” at Custom Made Theater features three gripping performances by three superb actors. Theatrius, August 2016 Barry David Horowitz

Director Tracy Ward has choreographed their struggles in a familiar but isolated house on the edge of a wind-farm in Northern California. Ward uses startling flashes of humor to accent the hidden depths of their involvement. The actors travel swiftly over the small stage, so that we feel like a part of their intimate conflicts. She has used startling sound by Liz Ryder and mysterious animal animation by David Goodwin, winningly projected by Maxx Kurzunski, to weave an spell for the National New Play Network’s Rolling World Premiere of Steve Yockey’s play. You cannot take your eyes off that stage for the 75 minutes that the play flames up and whizzes by.
Every moment is engaging, the sudden animation in the windows is gripping, the stories of old times are horrifying, and we descend into a shocking pit of lies, deceptions, and family-fouling furies. Who is taking revenge, and for what? How are we involved in this plot?
This superb production survives and lives on to help us understand how the way we live is having its consequences in the present, admit it or not.

My Cultural Landscape George Heymont

The Custom Made Theatre’s thrilling production of Yockey's new play is, perhaps, most notable for its economy. Although The Thrush and the Woodpecker requires only three actors, a unit set, and runs for only 75 minutes, it packs quite a wallop
Beautifully directed by Tracy Ward, Custom Made Theatre's production features Stacy Ross (a perfect fit for a maternal control freak) with Adam Magill bringing an appealing sense of youth and innocence to his portrayal of Noah. It would be a severe understatement to say that Fontana Butterfield wipes up the floor as the crazed Roison, but one can't really blame her.