- “Searching for David’s Heart” is a play by Cherie
Bennett, which is an adaptation of her novel by the same name.
I have grown accustomed to high-quality productions at Acacia
Theatre Company, but this one, though it had its moments, was
a bit of a disappointment.
chief problem is that except for the two children, Sam and
Darcy, the characters are flat and undeveloped. Another
conundrum is using Houdini as the narrator. I can see how as
Sam’s idol, he is always present in Sam’s mind and the
theme of how those who have passed on still live in some
capacity among us is repeated here, but his inclusion
stretched our credulity.
Budnowski as Sam and Claire Zempel as Darcy keep this story
alive. The best scenes are definitely between them. Both young
actors deserve credit for their focus and credibility. Their
characters are well defined, their dreams laid out, and their
suffering is real. Childhood, which is too often romanticized,
is not always an easy journey.
adores her older brother David; he is kind and affirming to
her. When he falls in love with Crystal, Darcy is jealous and
feels displaced. An unfortunate accident occurs and David is
killed. Darcy feels responsible for his death and spends the
next year of her life looking for David’s heart, which he
is her companion on her search and with the aid of the
Internet, they locate the person who is the recipient of her
brother’s heart. Along the way, they both grow in confidence
and understanding as well as in survival skills. Their meeting
with Winston and his parents and their obvious intense
gratitude for the gift of Darcy’s brother’s heart gives
this young girl a new perspective.
main theme of the story is how a person lives on after he has
died and the comfort that belief can afford those who are left
behind. Darcy’s parents are given short shrift. We never
learn just exactly why David Deeton is so bitter, how his
injury in his job has affected his wife, Claire, how David’s
death has affected them both, how Crystal has adjusted to his
sudden death, or how both Darcy’s and Sam’s parents are
handling their children’s disappearance. These are just a
few of the issues that are left hanging.
get a nice cameo of the Pawling family, played by Nigel Wade,
Bria Cloyd and Kwasi Stampley, but the Deeton family is
shrouded in mystery.
the novel upon which this script was based gives us a much
fuller, more satisfying picture, but dialogue and a sprinkling
of action do not do justice to the potential drama inherent in
this story. The scene between Darcy and Winston is very
projection problems plagued David Lopez (David) and Jason Will
(Doug Deeton), which was annoying.
We deserve to hear every word. The set design by Dane
Styczynski did not lend itself to smooth and rapid changes,
but the roof on the main building served many purposes and was
very effective. The stage at Concordia University is a
challenge because of its immense width, but that’s show biz,
working with what is and all the adaptations that reality
for David’s Heart” runs through March 9 at the Todd Wehr
Auditorium at Concordia University Wisconsin, 12800 N. Lake
Shore Drive, Mequon. For show times and tickets, call
414-744-5995 or visit www.acaciatheatre.com
by Rob Goodman, “Searching for David’s Heart” might get
you thinking about organ donation, and that would be a good