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Play treks through American decades

"On The Verge" infuses the story of three women traveling through time with magical realism.

Mary (Alisia Downing), Fanny (Justyn Vogel) and Alexandra (Devin Speer) begin their travels together in 1888. It appears as though it is the first time the women are trekking with someone else and they share numerous stories of their previous adventures with each another.

Through their travels, the women develop a relationship that is "much like that of sisters" Vogel said. As the women move through landscapes of 1888, they begin to find artifacts from the future.

Step-by-step the women make the shocking discovery that their travels are no longer through countrysides, but through decades of American history.

Among the artifacts they encounter is a piece of political propaganda in the form of an "I LIKE IKE" pin, a newspaper clipping from 1972 and an eggbeater. They also begin to get strange cravings for products such as Cool Whip and Bermashave, both of which will be introduced to them in the year 1955, where they seem to feel quite at home.

Where each woman ends up is incredibly far from where she began, metaphorically and literally. Fanny is an explorer but also a hopeless romantic whose journey leads her to let loose and find love.

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Her love from 1888 was a man named Grover (Jim Holten). Holten plays eight roles, including: a cannibal the women encounter, a yeti, a gorge troll, a German soldier named Alphonse, Madame Nous, Gus and Nicky.

"It fits me perfectly because at times it feels like there are eight different people in my body," Holten said.

He said he enjoyed playing Nicky.

"Nicky is the ultimate showman who accepts everybody and shows Fanny the finer qualities of a great love life," he said.

Nicky meets Fanny in 1955, where he owns a casino-type resort. Mary, the eldest traveler, is very strong but open to change and "grows along the journey," Downing said.

Speer describes Alexandra as "a woman who is in love with language and life." Language is a key to this play as the characters move from the strict Victorian language of the late 19th century in to the slang of the 1950s.

Director Gabrielle Johansen said she chose to direct Eric Overmyer's work because of the beauty of the language involved, especially words like "fortuitous."

She said she hopes "On the Verge" provokes thoughts from audience members about how they explore their inner and outer worlds just as Alexandra, Mary and Fanny come to explore theirs.

"On the Verge" offers several poignant moments as it attempts to demonstrate why the future is something we cannot resist. Audience members are able to feel each woman's journey because of Downing, Vogel and Speer's performances. These actresses capture the essence of their characters under the focused directorship of Johansen.

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