Area Info / NC Stage Presents "Nerve"

NC Stage Presents "Nerve"

The other night I had the privilege of attending a performance of Nerve at NC Stage in downtown Asheville. Nerve is playing from September 17th through the 25th and centers entirely on the first date of a couple who met through an Internet dating site. David Ostergaard and Kerri Brantley-Ostergaard star in this intentionally awkward portrait of the rocky process of dating and getting to know someone.

NC Stage is a very intimate and personal performance space. The play was set in a bar and the special allowance of drinks in the theater for the performance seemed to bring the audience directly into the set. The play actually felt like being in a bar and watching the date between the two quirky potential lovers. The music and lighting were perfectly coordinated to give off the same bar environment. Director Joshua Batenhorst explained to me that he was excited about getting to produce Nerve at NC stage because of how well he thought the atmosphere of the theater would complement the play. The production company did not disappoint and made full use of the unique space.

The play, written by Adam Szymkowicz, manages to foreshadow the rises and falls of romantic relationships all in the context of a first date. Both characters show their inner eccentricities to each other and the audience throughout the performance. Their relationship manages to go through highs and lows all over the course of several shared drinks. Awkward dates clearly produce awkward humor but Nerve is able to be something more than just a comedy of romantic errors, so to speak. Aspects like the importance of first kisses, lies and love permeate the performance throughout. Nerve effectively addresses the tensions between Internet dating and traditional courtship, the clash of the "online persona" and the actual person.

The play is a part of the Catalyst Series which showcases up-and-coming performance arts companies. Future performances include The Beautiful Johanna, from January 21st to the 30th, 2010, and The Trunk Show, from March 18th to the 27th, 2010. The Catalyst Series is a great way to experience both the intimate atmosphere of NC Stage and new local Asheville talent. For more information on upcoming shows, visit www.ncstage.org.

-- Ben Norris,
Contributing Writer