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The Play Goer: Twin Beach Players’ The Time Machine

An enjoyable adventure for preteens just in time for Halloween

      Twin Beach Players take us on a time-traveling adventure with an adaptation of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the father of science fiction. Wells’ oft-told tale is now 125 years old. 
     In Wells’ telling, “the time traveller,” is a scientist; Twin Beach Players playwright Mark Scharf features Wells himself as that main character, time-traveling scientist. Regan Garnett directs the production.
     The once-futuristic story opens in 1912 as Wells, known as George in this play, is enjoying dinner and easy camaraderie with friends. Wells (Harvey Williams), Sidney (Kelly Hutchison), Matthew (Justin McCright), Dr. Byram (Frank Clever) and Editor Thompson (Ellen Di lorio) are impressive in their roles, smooth and collaborative in their timing. 
      Scene by scene, the play jumps through time and visit the ’50s, 60s, present day and more. In each new era, you encounter actors who embrace their character. The couple featured in the ‘50s let words and phrases such as “radioactive,” “rat us out,” “square” and “later, gator” convince you that they do, indeed, live in 1956. 
      The costume department was obviously kept busy dressing actors in appropriate clothing from multiple years. They succeeded in shifting from 1912 to 1968 … to 802,701.
     The make-up crew showcases their talents with era-appropriate enhancements in each scene, shining when in the faces of the flesh-eating, underground-dwelling Morlocks. In perfect timing for Halloween, these masks and e-painted faces are not for the faint of heart (especially considering — spoiler — they come off stage and into the audience).
     Lighting, sound, effects, sets and music all help set the scene. Each contributes to the eerie, sci-fi feel. The volume is perfect: easily heard but not overwhelmingly loud.
     You’re treated to words of wisdom, so pay attention to walk away feeling motivated. “There is no such thing as useless knowledge” and “there’s never enough time,” George notes. He looks over the audience and contemplates “how the world could’ve turned into this.” If you go to an afternoon matinee, these topics would make for a nice discussion at a nearby restaurant over dinner. 
     The play is performed in the Boys and Girls Club in North Beach, where you’ll find a warm, welcoming environment and lots of fun extras. Popcorn, candy and beverages are sold to enjoy during the performance (you are allowed to eat in your seat). To further involve the audience, the Twin Beach Players offer raffles and “star grams ($1),” so you can compliment an actor of your choice. 
FSa 8pm, Su 3pm, thru Oct. 28, Twin Beach Players, North Beach, $15 w/discounts, rsvp: