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Reflection on Spark at the Cherry Lane (#3)

Cherry Lane Theatre, New York, NY

November 11, 2012

Directed by Scott Schwartz


SPARK: A Reflection on the Play and Its Many Wars

                        by Nicole Aiken

I had the honor of being a part of the Veteran’s Day reading of Caridad Svich’s new play SPARK at The Cherry Lane Theatre.  The reading was directed by Scott Shwartz, and I had the pleasure of reading stage directions while sharing the stage with the wonderful cast members Louis Cancelmi, Peter Jay Fernandez, Marin Ireland, Jocelyn Kuritsky and Gloria Mann-Craft.

SPARK is a beautiful play that explores war, family, hope, fixing what’s broken and coming home.  The play begins with the characters Evelyn and Ali waiting for their sister Lexie, a soldier, to return home from war.  Upon coming home, it becomes clear that Lexie left one war and walked right into another…the war at home.     

I found it fascinating that SPARK begins with one war, and reveals many as it unfolds.  The war at home, the family war, is one of the first wars we see in this play.  The sisters’ relationships with one another are rich with history and full of conflict.  Already complicated relationships become much more complicated upon Lexie’s return.  The characters also struggle with their personal wars.  Self-medicating, self-sabotaging, struggling to stay in control, to be understood, to connect, to belong, to fix what is broken.  A major war in the play is the war going on in Lexie’s head.  The war of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   The trauma Lexie experienced as a soldier during the war makes it hard for her to return to “normal” or feel like she is at “home.”   All of these wars collide, creating a powerful and engaging play.   

I’m thrilled that SPARK is being read around the world.  This important and moving play raises awareness about soldiers and PTSD, as well as the way in which people “receive” soldiers when they come home from war.  SPARK will spark conversations, while promoting healing and understanding of the war after the war.

Nicole Aiken is an NYC based actor and a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company Intensive Ensemble 2011.  Recent acting credits include a reading of “The Champion,” by Amy Evans at the Lark Play Development Center and a reading of “Alondra Was Here,” by Chisa Hutchinson at NYU’S Goldberg Theatre.  Other credits include the CityKids Repertory Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Actors Studio, Manhattan Center, Central Park Summerstage and starring in the feature film The Legend of Bloody Mary” (Lionsgate).