Prince George's Little Theater has done itself proud by opening its 20th season with an impressive production of "A Man for All Seasons" at the Publick Playhouse recently.
Based upon the conflict between Sir Thomas More and Henry VIII, Robert Bolt's finely written play presents the special demands of historical roles, period costumes and frequent shifts in locale. The Little Theater met the challenge with ingenuity and style, bringing solidly to life More's lonely stand against Henry when the latter established his own church in order to divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn.
The play's many scenes were created with an attractive and highly adaptable double level set. Locale changes were cleverly suggested by detail. aA table, when set with a blue cloth and wine carafe, belonged to More's reception room. Set with a candle and writing materials, it became Cardinal Woolsey's desk. Set with a red cloth and candlelabra it belonged to Henry's palace.
The costumes were handsome, effectively evoking both period and class, and lighting was used to good dramatic effect. Renaissance music supplied by the Exultate Madrigal Singers added significantly to the atmosphere.
Cast members assumed their historical roles with dignity and confidence. J. Robert Powers strongly anchored the production with his convincing, low-keyed performance as More.Bob Hoffman's natural manner and well-paced delivery provided the right tone for his many-faceted role as the common man.
The overall strength of this production could be a real turning point for the Little Theater. The sizable commitment and achievement by many people both on and off stage should encourage the company to seek increasingly challenging plays.