Issue: March/April, 2003
We are back for more reviews, and
mini-reviews, of the latest festival. Congratulations to all
participants. I thoroughly enjoyed my viewing. I have tried to
credit as many people as I could as time (in my schedule) permits.
If you get a short review, the reason has only to do with my demands
and deadlines that week -- not my interest in your project. I have
also credited the sponsoring company in parentheses next to the
INFORMATION, PLEASE! (Tribe Productions)
Production designs by Studio 31 are
clean and neat. The set looks great in this black box venue.
Costumes are a delightful throw-back to the 70s. Music took me back!
This original one-act play makes a full evening and is a perfect
date play for a man and a woman. We can laugh at these characters
and love them at the same time. Guys -- or hockey fans, period --
can also relate to the character of George getting his hand on the
famous mask belonging to a player.
Ryan Pifher plays
George, a man falling fast in love with Katie (Karson St. John)
and "out" with Rita (Sara Shaning), not because
Katie's the one with the mask; but the symbol of the mask, like
everything, seems to point to the fact that George and Katie are
destined to be together. Pifher is a riseable performer and an
extremely funny leading man -- self-effacing and sexy at the same
Just as soon as I thought that I had fallen
in love with female protagonist St. John -- and that no other woman
could steal my affections away from her -- that's when Shaning
entered and swept me away as well. The chemistry between the two
women is pure comedy.
J.C. Svec has
written another great play with Information Please!
His Katie is a beautifully normal girl spurned in love; and Rita is
an uptight square. George is caught between two good women who grow
to like each other. In fact, with credit to the writer, all of the
characters turn out terrifically respectful to each other. For
example, Rita actually makes a case that Katie is perfect for George
and practically pushes them together. And for Rita's reward,
something really exciting happens to her. But don't think that this
reviewer is going to tell you. But it is adventurous; and each and
every person gets what he/she needs. Just makes you feel all warm
and fuzzy inside.
Svec also finely directs these actors to
take their time and mine the material for all of the humor present
in facial reactions and body language. By the way, this play might
have been done as a bench play. Minimalism could definitely serve
this play. But, that's not the style of this veteran director who
always has good production values. Here there is a realistic pay
phone with the rings coming from it (no recording). There is also a
realistic street light, fire hydrant and a theatrical cut-out of a
storefront. Right on!
MICHAEL DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (Gay and
Lesbian Acting Co.)
Spotlight On Festival at Chashama brings
Hector Lugo's new full-length play, Michael Doesn't Live Here
Anymore, directed by Steven Thornburg.
Billed as a drama, I am happy to report that there is also comedy
and humanity. All of the characters go somewhere: friends and
strangers come together to assist, fight, heal and teach each other.
First, the play is about Mickie (Andrew
Rothkin) who once was Michael -- until her sex-change operation.
Dramatized before our eyes is a very short section that one expects
when boyfriend Bruce (Anthony Amen) protests that he fell in
love with a man and says that he is against such drastic measures.
But then he comes around, and the play grooves into many other
issues which neatly tie together. There is little predictability.
The production moves forth like a movie script, changing to many
locales with smooth and quick transitions which allow the focus to
stay on the story. We meet Andrew (Cyrus Shams) -- best
friend to Mickie -- and Steven (Tate Ellington), with whom
Andrew falls in love. Paying a surprise visit to Mickie is her angry
younger brother, Danny (Brendan Burke), estranged for 12
years. He "gets his" by outing the "freaks" on
national television despite the best efforts of a kindly neighbor
and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Fishman (Jack Merlis). All of the
women (B. Drum Sullivan) are played by one actress changing
costumes, hair and mannerisms.
It's the unexpectant twists and turns which
are the true drama, humor, poignancy and emotional release. The
audience sees a chain reaction: Mickie confronts Andrew; Steven
loves Andrew; Andrew gives an intervention to Steven; Fishman gets
through to Danny, etc. All of the characters grow. The effect is
pure magic -- like a heightened FRIENDS episode combined with TORCH
All of the players are supremely loveable.
Rothkin gives a believable performance as a truly noble heroine:
loyal, nurturing and grounded. Shams deftly evolves from an
ungrounded mess into a hero in his own right. Amen is strong and
sweet as the macho Italian lover. Burke is spot-on as a young and
swaggering rebel. Merlis is perfectly funny and poignant. Sullivan
is a master of comedy. And Ellington is a star: one in the same time
commanding and unassuming.
Lugo's play is beautifully relevant when it
touches on issues such as true friends, the twin towers, war,
identity, A.I.D.S., and terrorism. These themes never seem
gratuitous or out of place and, remarkably, seem connected to show
the influence a single person can have upon another.
By Thornburg's skillful direction, Michael...
is a theatrical crescendo, both physically and vocally. The
pacing and blocking are good, allowing the emotions to sneak up on
the audience. There are many highlights, such as the Nurse's clinic
scene, Steven's emotional breakdown, and the ending (when the stage
becomes a tableau, momentarily, and then one suddenly realizes that
the characters are speaking intimately to the audience).
The set (uncredited) is only functional
with wise placement of furniture and clever use of a tall platform.
Lighting (Jim Stewart) is even and atmospheric. Costumes (Antoinette
Martinez) match the characters perfectly, with a nice use of
color. The lighting and sound technicians (Gillian and Sherrian
Felix) deftly execute the show; and the crew on the floor
invisibly set the scenes without holding back the pace of the
action. Stage management by Edward
GOLEM STORIES (FHB Theater Productions)
Edward Einhorn has
skillfully written a fairy tale and love story for adults. His
writing gives the players great opportunities, such as Rifka's fake
mad scene which is executed with great aplomb. The style is an
absurd fantasy; and as the best of the absurd genre, more than a
hint of truth is borrowed from the real world.
One of the most famous golem legends has
Rabbi Loew creating a man out of clay to help save the Jews of
Prague from the blood libel. (The blood libel is the belief that
Jews used the blood of Christian children for matzos.) During this
time (16th century), King Rudolf of the Austrian Empire abolished
many superstitious laws which banned Jews from trade and did not
allow them fair trials.
While some writers have black-outs
punctuating scenes, Einhorn is lucky enough to have eerie music and
highly theatrical lighting which illuminate each tableau, leading
logically onward to the next unveiling. The woman responsible for
these effects is Glory Sims Bowen, easily one of the best
directors working at Spotlight On currently. She also finds firm
comedy and brings out the best in the performers by giving them
something to do. One priceless example is the Rabbi and the King
scene with the books. Bowen has brought to this production many
And collaborate is the word.
Obviously, a great deal of thought has gone into every element. The
cast members are also credited in capacities such as props design,
costume assistant design, set dressings, press kits, program design,
web design, and the like. Bowen has cleverly maximized the resources
in the company -- which is why the product looks first-rate.
Every element is telling, from the bloodied
costumes (Michael Pietkowski) to the "surprising"
chairs. From the stark lighting (Aaron J. Mason), blazing
through the carefully constructed set (Nicole Frankel), to
the music (Christopher Brooks) which evokes another land,
another culture, and another time. Then there are the actors who
work together as an ensemble, smoothly executing blocking that often
looks like choreography -- such as the section which leads into the
golem magically coming to life.
Emphasized in this production is the
universality of the people, rather than the exact dialects. In fact,
most of the cast speaks in Standard American, except for the Rabbi
with Standard British. The setting is Prague; and yet we are
subliminally reminded of the 21st century's Bush/Blair pairing. This
production reminds us of the universal truth of how a culture can
resort to fear, label another group, and cause great harm. There is
much to ponder. Do we see, anywhere in the world, a governing body
restricting whole groups of people? Or how about somebody setting
somebody up by dropping a slaughtered body on the doorstep and
blaming it on somebody else?
The reality of world events can be
unwelcome; and yet Golem Stories is welcome. It's as easy to
enjoy as the tale of Frankenstein -- which is another one that
originated in the golem legends. This play is even thrilling to
children -- on another level -- for the laughs and the novelty.
To tell the truth, I hardly thought of the
exterior world while watching the play because I was far too
entertained with the poetic and humorous portraits drawn by a lovely
cast: Ben Hindell (Isaac); Yvonne Roen (Devorah); Gina
Stec (Rifka); and Maxwell Zener (Moshe). Ian Fleet (Rabbi)
and Hanna Hayes (Rebbetsin) are a nice pairing, bringing
commitment to the proceedings. Brian Glaser (Joseph/Golem)
makes the man of clay a quick learner with innocence and wit. Harry
Klein (King Rudolph) is very funny and sets just the right tone
as the superstitious monarch. And, finally, Michael Whitney (Thaddeus)
is outstanding in his pious character who turns out to be the real
Assistant Director; Luciano Fontanez: Technical Director; Thom
Sibbit and Jay Sterkel: Set Construction; Karene
Morris: Stage Manager; Berit Johnson: Light Board
ROSARIES AND VODKA
Author Daniel Haben Clark recently
produced another of his plays, Tiny Tim and the Size Queen. I
liked it very much. It was a humorous play, neatly staged on a
one-unit set -- simple and yet elegant; and the staging allowed the
actors and the plot to unfold cohesively. For his latest venture, Rosaries
and Vodka, the audience has to work too hard to come away with a
sense of having been altered or having learned something.
There is upstaging of the worst order when
the movement of props and furniture steal the focus over the lovely
acting. This play has about 24 scenes and practically a scene change
for each (sets by Gaspar Klammer, III). The audience really
doesn't care which way the table is angled or where the phone is as
long as we can get lost for several minutes and believe that it is a
phone and not simply a phone handle. Likewise, our "suspension
of disbelief" flies when we see actors doing scenes about
alcoholism with communal glasses of liquor that are empty.
There are merits to the writing: dramatic
conflict, real characters, tender motives and honest goals. The plot
is really about the Roman Catholic Church messing up our lives over
the centuries. There are scenes which slip backward out of the 20th
century and into other centuries where we meet several church
figures -- all played by the author. They are humorous satire of the
modernist type, wherein the actor speaks directly to the audience.
They are meant to lighten the otherwise heavy drama of a realistic
style. During these times, the author is joined onstage by the man
who moves the tables and chairs (Carl Owens). Now he has an
acting role. But, strangely, he is not lighted nearly as well as
when he moves the furniture, or when he announces the scenes.
Dramaturgy is needed, simply. Haben-Clark
is also a film-maker; and he has written a screenplay here. I can
visualize the movie: Each time a scene shifts locale, I see a title
flashing under it, "Seaside, 1945." On the stage, however,
I cannot accept Owens doing it -- because there is nothing dramatic,
or telling. Nothing evokes emotion in the mere announcement of the
time and place. And I am not convinced, as of yet, that it should
become a new theatrical custom.
That there is a talented cast deserves
repeating; and Clark has directed them into specific performances;
and most actors play multiple roles with agility. Some of my
favorites include: the very likeable Laurie Baker (Mrs.
Murphy, Lady Eve, Letticia) and Matthew Baker (Mr.
Murphy, Kent, Ned); a very handsome and beautiful leading man and
lady, Tom Bass ( Lewis, Ted Simpson, Ned) and Amy Rilling (Posey
Malone); and a funny and sexy-cute Martin Nolan (Jack, Pierre
Lapin, Omar, Sonny), who gives us a nice pay-off in the last scenes
by revealing near nudity. Throughout the play, Nolan clowns around
in good featured roles such as Lapin and Sonny. Others nicely
rounding out the cast are Maria Olivares (Isela, Carmen,
Lupe, Mercedes, Lorraine), whose physical agility and sensuousness
are pleasing in multiple roles, and the solid Colleen Crawford (Ellaine
Foley) and Karl Itzkowitz (Gus, Caryl, Vikto).
There is gorgeous music and a nice sound
design which accompany the play (Robert Torres). Costumes (Klutz
of Vienna) work sensibly and aesthetically.
WILD & DEVIANT WOMEN (Conn Artist
Karen Maloney has
directed a production which is lovely in simplicity -- in the
best sense of the word. There are six monologues which are presented
by four ladies. They are designed to be booked for touring, in whole
or in part, in many venues. That is why the minimalist production
values serve it. (No lighting cross-fades and no sound -- except
what comes from a boom box.) The actresses step in and out of the
light when they transition from one monologue to the next. On a
design note, the costumes (un-credited) are attractive and
My favorite piece is probably Cooking
With Typhoid Mary, written by Carolyn Gage and performed
by Annie Hart Cool. This lady is a natural, even while
playing with the audience and reveling in the late-comers who are
utilized to great humor. This is well-placed as the opener. Cool
neatly packages it with the right amount of sitting, standing and
talking. By the end of her text, she has packed up her props and
left without missing a beat.
Maloney steps onstage in Calamity Jane
Sends a Message To Her Daughter (by Gage), poignant in her
male-identified personna. Without artifice, she balances herself out
with just the right toughness and motherly tenderness.
All this while, I have thought that a
dapper man sits in one of the seats off the stage watching the show.
Turns out it is Marjorie Conn in drag as Lorena Hickok in Lorena
Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt's Lesbian Lover (compiled by Conn from
writings by Pat Bond and Conn). Another of my favorites, Conn
can always be counted on for her gift of drama and history without
ever seeming preachy or teachy. She has fun; and we do too.
written and directed by Deanna Fraschilla, is the weakest
solo. This is the first time music is used, and the actress does not
project over it. She could probably do without it and just
"act" as if she dances to music which she hears. However,
Fraschilla's comedy and authority are good. I'd like to see more of
her in the future.
Miss Lizzie A. Borden Invites You To Tea,
written and performed by Conn, is a perfect excert (re-compiled with
a beginning, middle and end) from a full-length piece which I saw at
the last festival. This is another opportunity for Conn to show that
she brilliantly understands pace. I would, however, like to see just
how far Conn can go to let us see a little of the pain which she
must have gone through in her life, as everybody has. Her
characterizations tend to be blocking/denying the pain. They are
living at a point after the drama -- when they are
self-actualized, or at least when they have already thought it out.
She can take a moment once in a while to heighten emotion,
realization, or pathos.
This brings us to the final act, Grandma
Gertie, written and performed by Cool. Did I say that this
dramatist is a good writer? Very humorous and interesting! She also
has a dynamite Irish dialect, which I guess is borrowed from Gertie.
There are many outstanding parts to Wild
and Deviant Women, especially when the writing gives the
actresses something strong to want or to do -- find the bastard,
defend or justify 'self, remember the relationship, get over
THE MISTAKE PRESENTS THAW
This production is an evening of
good-hearted sketch comedy from a gifted group of writers and
comedian-actors, Ken Scudder, Kim Chaskel, Andrew Martin Arnold,
Jay Colligan, Maggie Justice and Gabrielle Gold. Steve Weintraub provides
memorable and innovative sound design.. Hot on the heels of one of
their first forays (as this group) into the genre for Spotlight On, Boo!,
they here present something nearly as hysterical. They do it
with monologues, sketches and music!
All of the performers are technically
adept. However, a stand-out is Arnold, a comic possessing as
much flexibility as any out there at the moment. I remember his
hit-and-miss act from several years ago when he was less experienced
and less commanding. Here he presents a range of rhythms, such as
the Brit in "British Porn" and the Italian man on the
street in "The Response." Kudos! And likeable in the
extreme, Scudder and Colligan deserve to get their own
talk show (separately or together). Move over Letterman and Leno.
Gold are great together in "Zip Code." The act
climaxes with "Star Trek 2, The Wrath of Khan, the
Musical," where Justice is hilarious as a singer at a
backer's audition. The cast does a superb job. With that kind of
commitment, they might get somebody to give their backer's audience
MEDIEVAL (K)NIGHTS (Cuchipinoy Productions)
Directed by Mario Corrales and Rodney
L. Reyes, this production is a very clever comedy by a talented
young group, many of who hail from Rutgers University. They put to
good use their tapestries, painted booth, paper crowns and bright
costumes . They also create a pre-show in the lobby which makes a
theme restaurant spring to life. These talented Cuchipinoy artistic
directors (Corrales, Reyes and Jonathan Calindas) utilize the
venue and the resources which are specific to it in a clever manner.
The production is comprised of 4 shorts,
the longest of which is Medieval (K)nights, by Rodney L.
Reyes. The acting style is in one realm. While some broad characters
are presented, all of the odd people are living in the same
universe. Exaggerated, yes (eg, the nerds); but we have known them.
Some favorites are Reyes (Stan), Eze P. Ihenetu (Little
Stanley), Marlon Correa (Mikey, Thunder), Anthony Go (Van
Rob Moretti (Jack), Dawn Slegona (Mona, Shelly, Joan)
and Daniel Roach (Announcer/King).
The other 3 shorts, by Elias Stimac, are
very witty: Jack & Jill, Snickerdoodle, and This &
That. The actors and directors make risky choices, which the
audience appreciates. For example, Patrick Annelli portrays,
with mime, a door and a fridge in Snickerdoodle and the bear
rug (to comic effect) in This & That. The talented Dawn
Slegona and Daniel Roach stand out with Stimac's fancy word-play in Snickerdoodle.
The scene changes to each are efficient and
set to good music. Stage Managers: Sarah Darnsteadt and Liza
Hataf; Carpenter: Michel Cuillerier; Scenic Arist: Rachael
Barba; Set Design: M. Corrales; Board Op: S.
Darnsteadt; Audio Op: J. Calindas; Prop Mistress: Allison
Lepelletier; Ushers: Lepelletier, Justin Bruno and Lillian
Ribeiro. Program/Postcard Design: Juan Aycart.
LOVE IS KICKING MY BEHIND (Black Phoenix
Productions, D'Skye Management, and Kidd & Play Productions)
Beware of showcases where one man is
Writer/Producer/Director/Star. This project by Alix Jean-Francois
is just the very product of that formula. He has attempted to
create a funny evening which parodies the extremes of dating and
relationships. And the writing could succeed, given what
Jean-Francois has created -- and also by his own sense of the comic
style. However, the problem is a huge series of under-rehearsed
scenes broken up by interminably long scene changes. The effect
feels like there is no objective viewer laying down the law.
Technically, the execution of the scene
changes does not seem planned or rehearsed. Scenes alternate: couch,
beauty parlour, couch, beauty parlour, couch, etc. Instead of a unit
set arrangement, this producer has opted for the awkward scene
changes which one man alone often does. Literally, a couch is
dragged/scraped across the floor by one individual. No decent sound
level is set, and the music blasts our ear-drums.
The acting styles are all over the place.
It seems they are going for broad humor which breaks the fourth wall
and more than occasionally speaks directly to the audience. All of
the actors have talent and moments; and, as a whole, the cast has a
very "character- actor" look which I love. Unfortunately,
they are allowed to mug shamelessly; and the style and pace slow
when some of them are uncertain of their lines. The actors who best
succeed are Shaniq Garner (Sheniqua) and Jean-Francois (Ennis)
-- both with keen timing and style -- and also Kelly Ho (Cheryl),
grounded in a sarcastic and dry demeanor. Denyse Kidd (Bula
May) dons a funny costume and annoying voice that has great
potential if she wouldn't over-act so intensely in the early scenes
before she becomes the beautiful swan. At this transformation, she
steps into a vocal compromise that would be more believable in the
beginning also -- and be much funnier. Personally, I am less likely
to laugh if I am telegraphed, "This is funny." If you take
me by surprise, comedy often arises from the situation.
Some of the other stand-outs are Natasha
Smith Dargan, Joseph Phillips, Ronald Douglass, Bernell
Colter, Jabal Tate, Asun Peterson, Nicholl
Jones, and the dance (energetic choreography by Prince
Hairston). Writer/Director/Producer: Alix Jean-Francois; Costume
Coordination : Shaniq Garner; Exec. Producers: Kelly Ho, Bernell
Colter, Denyse Kidd, Alix Jean-Francois.
HAIKU & THE PLAYGROUND (2B Theatre Co.)
Haiku (by Katherine
Snodgrass) is a gentle and poetic one-act play about the
possibility of miracles. A door can open even for an autistic
individual so that her wit can shine through in those moments. It's
also about the faith a loved one can provide to collaborate on these
miracles. Nell (Joan Slavin) takes dictation from her
autistic child, Louise (Marci Occhino), and publishes her
poetry. Another daughter, Billie (Lynda Green), doubts the
sibling's improvement and suspects the mother of denial. In the end,
through perseverance, a window of opportunity comes to confirm
Nell's mysterious claim. Louise speaks with clarity and ease. Hope
lives -- a nice message in any time.
The writing gradually discloses a poignant
family drama; and we care for each character equally, a credit to
three stunning actresses and Anthony Ciccotelli (Director).
The white wicker furnishings and window frame (Matthew Jago, Jr. and
Slavin) create a Brechtian staging that is warm and comforting.
The Playground (by
A. J. Wrath), a surreal piece, is of a common theme as Haiku,
-- with Luke (W. Allen Wrede) and Lydia (Marci Occhino)
serving as angels for each other's healing. In fact, we aren't so
sure if they are not instruments for Lydia's parents, Nadia (Randi
Sobol) and Craig (Joe Novellino), as well. Nay, I'll go
so far as to say that Wrath's metaphysical / life and death message
is that the entire world (world = playground) has hope for all -- if
we can just wrestle around long enough and look through our
handicaps to accept the world for nothing less than what we can make
transforms, en vista, the setting from autumn's fallen leaves to
spring's flowers. Likewise, the costumes (Julia Lintern) move
from winter's rain coats to Spring's fairy tale. Wrede's charm and
healing voice are stand-outs. Occhino triumphs, again, with a
different handicap. Novellino and Sobol are also lovely as a
maturing couple trying to hammer it out with grace and wit.
Stage Manager: R.A. Guirand; Light
Design: Scott James; Sound: Sherrian Felix;
Sets/Props: Jago, Jr. and Slavin; Producers: Anthony
Ciccotelli, Joan Slavin and Matthew Jago, Jr.
FISH AND CHIPS (Spotlight On)
Malcolm Gordon is
an amazing entertainer of the old fashioned variety: a gentleman who
can dance, act and sing in multiple styles, voices and personas. Fish
and Chips is a museum piece, re-creating the English music hall
revue. Mr. Gordon is accompanied by Robert Rogers on piano.
This musician is so good with Gordon that the material is elevated
to a duet. These two gentlemen do not miss a beat. The energy is
relaxed and yet electric!
One has the feeling of learning so much
during the course of the concert. But, if that were all that Mr.
Gordon offered, it wouldn't be enough. The musicality and technical
proficiency is invigorating. The pleasure that Gordon takes in it is
exciting. And the physicality in his body is a gift.
I find merit in all of the selections
performed. However, some of the favorites are a poem, "My
Mother Doesn't Know I'm On The Stage," and the "Albert and
the Lion" monologues. Also, the Cockney Medley is delightful,
with my favorite for sentimentality being,
"Harry...Marry." In the Pub Medley, one particular
stand-out is "Her Mother Comes Too" because of the lovely
suspense in the story and the witty play on words which is the
pay-off. And, finally, the Bullfighter piece is classic. Did I say,
yet, that the poems and monologues are so exquisitely interpreted
that they seem to be music to my ears, as well as the -- well
-- as well as the music?
Visually, Jim Stewart provides a
dazzling set, complete with footlights!
If this review seems to be a love note, I
guess it is. Congratulations for a job well done. Sorry...I guess I
should simply say, "Bravo."
WISDOM OF AGE
written by Ted Williams, has a marvelous set that looks like
it was brought directly from the Pines by a gay male -- in white and
silver with white fairy lights and a fireplace which dims. In this
festival event, Director (Stephen Nisbet) and Associate
Director (Randy Gener) bring us cocktails which have ice and
the smell of what I believe to be pine oil. I guess all of this is
appropriate, given it is a play about gay men in the country.
Williams presents struggling lovers, Bart (Stephen
Nesbit) and Steven (Dennis Demitry), and a guest named
Hugh (Eric Rath) -- a rival to Steven. Jealousy and doubts
build in the setting of a formal dinner party. Finally, Henry (Debargo
Sanyal), a stranger, enters the room after having been upstairs
in bed with his lover's dead body all along.
The play seems to be about the redemption
of man -- each caring for another. Despite the dramas, we ultimately
come together in tragedy. This idea is beautifully staged at the
play's end with a dramatic tableau.
However, the acting and directing is not
finished. The actors are fine and interesting. Yet they have only
begun to thread all of the dimensions together. Once the play gets
where it is going, one realizes that it should begin as Coward --
not Pinter. It needs to start festively, with peppiness which marks
the anticipation of a party -- playing against the heaviest dramas
so that the emotion has somewhere to go. From lightness to pathos --
and from wit to sadness. I guess one of the adjustments at the top
of the plot might be to force a denial of familial problems in order
to put a good face on for the party. Currently, it plays as if the
actors have placed the focus on a doomed relationship from the
Despite all of the realism to the set, Eric
Rath (playing Hugh) gets off to the wrong start when he downs glass
after glass of vodka as if they are glasses of water. If Hugh had
actually imbibed that much, I doubt that he could stand. Other
stilted mannerisms persist, such as the way people behave upon
hearing of the friend's death. Demitry remains seated, and Rath
keeps his hands in his pockets. This feeling is for a friend whom
they have talked about for an hour. Seems like they are not
Demitry and Nesbit succeed in showing us
men who share genuine love -- and we care about them. Rath lets us
peek inside a little at the vulnerability of the falling star.
Debargo is very believable and endearing.
Good fight direction is by Ron Piretti.
House Manager: Ania Vahl. Stage Manager: Donna Rubin.
KIWI DREAMS (Renee'sance Dreams)
"Kiwi Dreams & Other Erotic
Fantasies," by Renee Flemings, is a reading. And yet it is not.
It's too well produced. When I see a reading with text, wherein the
actors are practically off book and moving around to full theatrical
effect, I tend to label it as legitimate Reader's Theatre.
They did only one performance; but I'm sure
you will see it on the bill at another venue. You should go and see
it. It excels at good taste; but, boy, is it edgy and erotic!
Flemings directs; and Joe Basile assists. Olivia Tsang stage
The cast is four performers (Scott
Baker, Flemings, Amy Fortoul and David Mitchell) and one very
sexy saxophone player, Sharon Heller. (Is there a more sexy
instrument?) All of these performers are featured to steal the show
in their turns.
Where the direction succeeds is in lively
blocking, stage pictures and cast! These are all professionals. Make
no mistake; they must have had plenty of rehearsals. And they must
have seen each other in rehearsals. However, the surprisingly fun
part was how each of the actors enjoyed the others. No...RELISHED
the work of the others. They truly seemed surprised by the comedy
and the daring acting.
Those of us in the audience were also
cherishing the commitment behind the funny script. But, there was an
intoxication going on among the cast and the audience as we all
enjoyed this, seemingly, for the first time. The cast literally
experienced stuff for the first time. For example, Flemings
unintentionally gets dry nuts caught in her throat as she goes down
on the Baby Ruth bar.
Talk about spontaneity. This brings new
meaning to the words, "Renee Flemings never lets us down."