‘Come From Away’ is a memorable masterpiece

By Hollyann Gardner
Times-News correspondent
   DURHAM — “Come From Away” is the story of simple human kindness acting as a shining light in the darkness, and how it affects those around us.
    Everyone knows about the horrific acts that took place on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York City, but few know the story of a town in Newfoundland, Canada called Gander.
    When 38 planes were unexpectedly ordered to land in the town as a precaution following the attacks, thousands of people were left without resources or a place to stay. “Come From Away” centers around the passengers on one of these planes and their relationships with the welcoming “Newfoundlanders”.
    “Come From Away,” which is being performed at the Durham Performing Arts Center through Sunday, is made up of beloved characters. What makes this show especially unique is that every actor plays more than one character and is often changing costumes, personalities and even accents at the drop of a hat.
       A highlight of the story is the blossoming romance between passengers Nick (Chamblee Ferguson) and Diane (Jenny Ashman). Both actors are absolutely delightful and show how beauty can come out of even the ugliest tragedies.
    Audience members will be excited to find out that Nick and Diane Marson are a real-life couple and their storyline is about what really happened. Another memorable character is Egyptian Muslim passenger Ali (Nick Duckart), and the discrimination and prejudice he faces from those around him in the now post-9/11 world.
    The show’s brilliant writing and heart-wrenching one-liners come with show-stopping song after song. The score is comprised of mostly large ensemble numbers such as opening number “Welcome to the Rock” and “On the Edge”; however there are a few solos such as pilot Beverley Bass (Marika Aubrey)’ emotional solo “Me and the Sky”.
    Also notable is “Come From Away’s” set and lighting design. The simplistic set, often only comprising of a few wooden chairs, is incredibly effective, and the lights are set to change drastically from different colors to create certain moods and settings. All visual aspects come together to perfectly showcase every important moment.
    The standing ovation that “Come From Away” received on opening night was well-deserved.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. today; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets are $63 and up and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.
Hollyann Gardner is a high school senior at Alamance Community College and a Teens & 20s writer. 
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