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Pierce College Theatre climbs to the heights with ‘K2’

By Lynn Geyer

Pierce College Theatre’s current production is “K2” by Patrick Meyers. This is a two-man drama which takes place on a ledge at 27,000 feet on K2, the world’s second highest mountain. Taylor and Harold are stranded at the foot of a 600-foot ice wall. They have made it through the night even though Taylor has fallen and broken his leg and Harold got spiked in the arm by one of Taylor’s crampons.

The two friends are joyful that they survived the night and know they have very little time to make it to the base station before the frigid winds accost them when night falls.

Then Harold discovers that he has left one of their climbing ropes atop the wall they slept next to. They need that rope for a sling for Harold to be able to make it down.

The next hour of intensity is filled with reminiscing, terror, friendship and love set to the background of howling wind and falling snow, concocted by Sound Designer Tim Walls. Light Designers Chelsie Moorman and Stanton Reaves give us morning to night quite realistically.

However, the set, superbly designed by Matt Johnson, is definitely the third actor in the cast. Johnson has squeezed his mountain into a small, claustrophobic corner of the college’s theatre, Studio 320, and has extended the ice wall upward from the ledge upon which our actors are perched to beyond the catwalk. This is an ice wall which demands to be climbed — and is!

Director Patrick Daugherty has mounted the production so perfectly that one actually gets shivers just sitting in the audience and dodging a very real avalanche.

David de Rouen is Taylor, the gruff adventurer who insists, “This is my hobby, not my life!” However, he soon realizes it just might be. De Rouen maintains his character with wonderful consistency, even when he makes the “600-foot” climb back up the ice wall to retrieve a left hank of rope.

Andrew Myrick is Harold, the badly injured member of the party. Myrick winces so much with pain each time he attempts to move his broken leg a fraction of an inch that the audience feels the pain with him. He does an excellent job even with his immobility.

Side note: both actors wear mountaineer gear which belonged to Stan Engle, a local climber who passed away last year; Engle’s wife was good enough to lend the paraphernalia to the college for this performance.

Unfortunately, this thrilling production has an extremely short run, closing Saturday, February 20. The seating capacity is limited for this play; make reservations by calling the box office at (253) 964-6710 or just go to the college’s Cascade building on the Fort Steilacoom campus at 9401 Farwest Drive in Lakewood.

“K2” is a slice of life — and death — show which will have you climbing the walls.

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