BEST ACTOR - 2008
It's a rare performer who can transmit the truth of his character while at the same time seeming to provide an anchor and touchstone for those around him on the stage. Penumbra stalwart James Craven consistently brings a soulful complexity to the roles he plays, while lending authenticity to every scene in which he appears by virtue of his studied, gravity-filled reactions. He lent a complicated mix of motives to his football coach in Redshirts at Penumbra in the last year, then mixed things up as a storefront dance teacher in Get Ready. It was his work as Doaker in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, though, that stood out most of all. It was an authoritative, searching piece of acting to match the greatness of Wilson's text.