Archive by Author

Apr 06

If you would like to contact our PR Rep, please email:

Sam Morris
Festivity Public Relations Rep
PlanetSamPR@gmail.com

Jun 15

There is no silver bullet, obviously; but there are proven techniques and strategies to help artists and producers bring their shows from a festival environment to the next level of production.

I will be moderating a panel on this very topic at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity on Sunday, June 26 from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon at the Robert Moss Theatre (440 Lafayette Street, 3rd floor).

Joining me will be four very knowledgeable theatre professionals:

  • Jason S. Grossman, a playwright, performer, and producer; his play Love Me was in the 2010 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity and he is now looking at how to move it
  • Glory Kadigan, the producing artistic director of Planet Connections
  • Michael Roderick of Small Pond Productions
  • Katie Rosin, a publicist and marketing professional

We’ll be talking about many paths for your festival production, including re-mounting at a larger scale, publication, and exploiting the press/reviews/publicity you received at the festival for maximum benefit.

I hope you’ll attend if this subject is of interest to you! It is sure to be an interesting and informative session.

There’s info at the Planet Connections website and there’s also a Facebook Event page.

Posted by Martin/nytheatre.com
Filed in festivalsindietheatertalkbacks and discussions

 

Jun 10

http://reviewfix.com/2011/06/a-mixed-wonder-of-dance-and-song/

http://reviewfix.com/2011/06/a-loss-of-initial-charm/

http://reviewfix.com/2011/06/small-stage-huge-emotion/

http://reviewfix.com/2011/06/it%E2%80%99ll-get-a-%E2%80%98hold%E2%80%99-of-you/

http://reviewfix.com/2011/06/review-fix-exclusive-melissa-skirboll-interview/

http://reviewfix.com/2011/06/two-sides-of-the-same-coin/

http://reviewfix.com/2011/06/review-fix-exclusive-james-behr-interview/

Jun 09

June 9, 2011, 7:00 AM

Elizabeth Taylor on ‘Someone’ Similarly Named

By JAMES BARRON
Actress Elizabeth Clare Taylor
Fred R. Conrad/The New York TimesElizabeth Claire Taylor portrays “someone” in a one-woman show.

At times she called the other one “someone,” as in: “By 1986-7, someone had gone to Betty Ford.  Someone had lost — let’s say, 80 pounds. Someone had a new fiancé, a strapping construction worker named Larry Fortensky. Someone was friends with Michael Jackson, and someone released a perfume called Passion.”

Elizabeth Taylor was talking about Elizabeth Taylor.

This could get confusing, couldn’t it?

The Elizabeth Taylor who was doing the talking is an actress, and not the onewho died in March.

This Elizabeth Taylor — Elizabeth Claire Taylor, according to her driver’s license — is 31. The other one, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, was 31 when “Cleopatra” was released in 1963.

That was three years before “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” — the Elizabeth Taylor movie that Elizabeth Taylor said she admires the most.

But it’s a small world after all, so it’s not surprising that this Elizabeth Taylor’s brushes with greatness had to do with “someone.” As an usher at the Walter Kerr Theater, this Elizabeth Taylor introduced herself to Mike Nichols, who directed “someone” in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

She also did her breathiest “Hi, I’m Elizabeth Taylor” to Edward Albee, the playwright of “Virginia Woolf.” She said that he suggested a vowel change, to assert her uniqueness: “What about Tailor?”

She thought better of that idea. She had already tried Elizabeth Bennett, adopting the name from the street on which she had grown up in Long Beach, Calif. She went back to Taylor after someone — no, not “someone” — said, “Like in ‘Pride and Prejudice’?”

“I said, Oh, no,’ ” Ms. Taylor recalled. Of course the Jane Austen character was a one-T Bennet, as Mr. Darcy well knew.

Not anticipating what’s in a name seems to run in Ms. Taylor’s family. In late 1979 — when “someone” was, as Ms. Taylor put it, “married to her seventh husband, John Warner, and not happy” — Ms. Taylor’s mother was pregnant. Ms. Taylor said the story her parents told was: “My mother says: ‘What about the name? What about Elizabeth?’ My father says, ‘I have an Aunt Elizabeth on my mother’s side. It’s a beautiful name.’ ”

“In the delivery room, my Aunt Donna looks at my mother and says, ‘Now Susie, you know if you name her Elizabeth, that will make her Elizabeth Taylor.’ My mother turns to my dad and says, ‘Ron?’ He says, ‘Well, who’s going to care about Elizabeth Taylor in 20 years?’ ”

Their daughter, that’s who, but first she had to endure the snickering in school, and the snide questions about, say, Michael Jackson. She said she knew people whose names really were Jim Jones, Milton Bradley and James Carter. Not one was a cult leader, a board-game pioneer or a president.

Now here she was talking to a reporter who was supremely well qualified for this assignment. He once wrote about the “other” guy with his name. Later he invited the “other” guy to dinner with two Mike Wallaces — the “60 Minutes” correspondent and a co-author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning book “Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898.” Also, he has at least two colleagues who have written about same-name misadventures. (Look here and here.)

Ms. Taylor has also done some writing about being a doppelgänger. She wrote a one-person show, “Finding Elizabeth Taylor.” It is being staged as part of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity at the Gene Frankel Theater at 24 Bond Street. It opens on Wednesday. “What does it feel like to be the most beautiful woman in the world?” the press release announcing the production said. “This Elizabeth Taylor certainly doesn’t know.”

That is because she never met “someone.” She came close. The actress Camryn Manheim, a mentor of Ms. Taylor’s who calls her “a firecracker,” tried. After all, Ms. Manheim went to the same Hollywood dentist as “someone.”

So Ms. Taylor wrote a letter to “someone,” and Ms. Manheim dropped it off at the dentist’s office with careful instructions to the dentist’s receptionist: The next time “someone” came in, the receptionist was to give the note to someone’s assistant, and the assistant was to read it to someone. Aloud.

“This is Elizabeth, older, in the wheelchair,” Ms. Taylor said.

The scene played out like something from a movie. The receptionist handed over the note. The assistant read it to “someone.” Aloud.

“Someone” said, “Oh, this is lovely,’” according to what Ms. Taylor was told, “and then she went in to get her teeth checked.”

“Finding Elizabeth Taylor” mentions that “someone” had a perfume line. But it also touches on Ms. Taylor’s struggle with weight and body image, and with anorexia. In an hourlong conversation. she talked about gaining and losing and gaining the same 50 pounds before realizing that she could do well as a plus-size model. “Turns out I have the perfect size 16 body,” she said, mentioning fashion names like Elie Tahari and J. Crew.

Then she was off to another plus-size appointment in the Garment District, but not before she said she had her next solo show in mind. “It’s ‘Looking for Richard,’ or ‘Looking for My Richard,’” she said. “What do you think? I mean, they were married twice.”

Jun 08

Mayday, Indeed!

June 7, 2011 – 08:44 — Jay Reisberg

Mayday! Mayday!

Written and Directed by Dale Walkonen
A Staged Reading

Mayday! Mayday! is an extraordinary and brilliant play, written and directed by Dale Walkonen. A bold statement — yes! As I enumerate the reasons for such a blunt proclamation, you may get the impression that I am joking, because the play is centered on what might be considered a preposterous array of both global and personal issues, which in other hands would result in a mélange of overblown oration and artificiality. Ms. Walkonen takes on, in turn, early 20th Century feminism, environmentalism, war profiteering, capitalistic manipulation, government censorship, covert and overt propaganda, pacifism, the challenges of the young coming into adulthood, national origin prejudice, the squalor of the Manhattan slums, and then some.

Yes, it sounds like several D.W. Griffith silent screen potboilers rolled into one — but it is not. So how does this play maintain a consistently dynamic and believable dramatic flow, and make its points with an uncanny naturalism throughout? Some might call it genius, and they might indeed be correct.

The action of the play takes place between 1915 and 1918 in The Bronx and New Rochelle and concerns Anita Hoffman, a willful young woman from a family of means. The era evokes images of Judy Garland in Meet me in St. Louis, or Betty Grable in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, or even Barbara Streisand in Hello, Dolly! — but Mayday! Mayday! shows the era as one on the brink of grave changes with monumental long-term repercussions, all of which are still with us today.

My attempt below to render a brief synopsis of this play cannot do it justice.Mayday! MayDay!‘s abundant merits are to be experienced while being viewed on stage.

The play opens on the afternoon of April 30, 1915, during a planning meeting at The International Garden Society, where a new stone garden path has just been laid. Anita enters and disrupts the proceedings by asking, “Why has the earth been covered over?” This leads to a discussion of the impending besmirching of the planet by the explosive increase of fume-emitting gasoline automobiles. We are introduced to Anita’s mother, the proper Mrs. Clarissa Hoffman, the always delighted family friend, Mrs. Emily Codman, and Dr. Nicholas Butler, President of Columbia University, who is also the uncle and guardian of Anita’s long-term intended, Clarence Butler.

Anita learns that Clarence, a somewhat immature 23-year-old with notions about being a journalist, has sold his bicycle and, to Anita’s horror, is excited about showing her the world in a gasoline-powered Stutz Bearcat. He is also excited about his departure the next day for England on the Lusitania, to hand-deliver prize plant specimens to the Royal Horticultural Society and the opportunity to write about the war in Europe. Aware of German U-boat activity, and as a ploy to keep him safe, Anita convinces Clarence that they should wed immediately. Clarence agrees, and gives his Lusitania passage to his friend William.

Clarence has a new friend, Fred Swab, who calls himself “a Steel Man” and embodies just about everything Anita detests. Clarence decides he will work in advertising, and Fred is his client. Fred champions “progress,” while making a great deal of money. Fred apparently befriends the impressionable Clarence in order to have access to Dr. Butler, a friend of President Wilson from the days when Wilson was President of Princeton University.

It is now May 8, 1915 and Fred enters to announce that Lusitania has sunk—and with it William, who used Clarence’s passage. Moreover, cargo that was labeled as peaceable food-for-relief turned out to be armaments being illegally shipped by Fred, the war-profiteering industrialist — apparently with the sub rosaknowledge of President Wilson. Fred wants covert compensation for his losses, and prods Dr. Butler for a letter of introduction to President Wilson.

Fred finally persuades the newlyweds to join him on an auto excursion to Manhattan that takes them through the squalor of the slums, further enraging our righteous-hearted heroine, who tries to convince Fred to fund a foundation to assist slum children.

Further examples of inequity, malfeasance, and public manipulation come up in the course of the action, culminating in Anita’s husband working for the government’s propaganda office, where he is formulating a campaign of hatred against Americans of German heritage (the Hoffmans and Fred Schwab are of German descent).

Clarence enlists in the army, sees action, and ends up shell-shocked in an English hospital. Seemingly recovering, he cables back to Dr. Butler to cable him $500 to purchase an airplane — his latest impulsive enthusiasm.

The play closes with Anita, having seen her world repeatedly go off the rails into selfishness, indulgence, criminality, and war-fever, rocking her recently born infant son in her arms and declaring, “Women of world, we who care for it, we will be a force to reckon with! Hush, I will keep you safe, your future is in my hands!”

The character of Anita brings to mind the committed (and often irritating) women and men who are appropriately fired up regarding important issues, but when you brush up against them you sometimes wish they would tone down their relentlessness (or just plain shut up for a while). Then again, it was such abrasive and relentless people, reformers both known and unknown, who contributed to the end of slavery both here and abroad, the slowing of runaway “development,” the establishment of child labor laws, etc. A good example would be Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, the effective labor agitator–who was never nominated for Miss Congeniality.

Ms. Walkonen displays amazing skill in weaving all elements of the story into a cohesive and believable drama: the business manipulations that do away with the early and practical electric car; the sinking of the Lusitania; seekers of compensation for covert war materials lost at sea; President Wilson’s complicity; the commencement of World War One; the propaganda campaign against people of German Heritage (“the Hun!”); women’s protest against participation in World War One; the dire state of Manhattan slum children; the cold-heartedness of solid-citizen businessmen who used the word “progress” as a cover for opportunities to profiteer; wholesale disregard for the environment; women’s right to vote; the confining societal “role” of the woman; and more. These issues get broached, just in the process of the drama itself, and never are experienced as artificial plot devices.

Ms. Walkonen is a published poet and the play’s dialogue clearly shows a sensitive ear for how people really speak. She makes antiquated 1915 turns of speech seem utterly natural.

Though the players were “on-script” for a portion of this reading, Mayday! Mayday! was very close to being a complete production, with period attire, skillful direction by Ms. Walkonen and a simple functional set. With music by Charles Hipser, lighting by Emily Tomusko and sound by Molly McMurray, it would be a small step for the entire production to be expanded into a fully fleshed-out production.

Chloe Delaitre as Anita Hoffman and Will Forber as Clarence Butler, her beau and husband, are both students at Sarah Lawrence College. Both are able and seasoned young actors. Ms. Delaitre competently melds the likeable, sympathetic, and abrasive elements of Anita’s character, which is no easy feat. Will Former, with the solid good looks of what used to be called a “matinee iidol,” sweetly exudes archetypical boyish naivety. Kathi Mangan as the ever-proper Mrs. Clarissa Hoffman, Anita’s mother, delivers her haughty speeches with a marvelous kind of flat-toned halting staccato that brought to mind a somewhat democratized version of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell, transported to 1915. Robert Molroy as the professorial Dr. Nicholas Butler, Clarence’s uncle and protector, was perfectly cast as a mediator among the personalities. B.J. Markus as Fred Schwab, the businessman and profiteer, did a fine job at being just like the men I once worked with on Wall Street: persistently selfish and self-centered, argumentative, and single-mindedly repulsive. Vera Salter, as Mrs. Emily Codman, the ever-enchanted bubble-headed British friend of the family, is a highly skilled comedienne, punctuating the action with totally mal-appropriate, oblivious, and often hilarious digressions.

I highly recommend Mayday! Mayday! It will be presented again on Monday, June 20, at 2pm at The Gene Frankel Theater, for a thoughtful and entertaining theater experience. - Jay Reisberg

Reserve free tickets at www.planetconnections.org or by calling (866) 811-4111.

Mr. Reisberg is a UCLA film school grad, professional singer, comedian, assistant to the founder of New York’s Love Street Theatre, and bon vivant at large.
Jun 07

Bomb Shelter

nytheatre.com review

Jason S. Grossman · June 3, 2011

Jay Painter and Josh Luria in a scene from <em>Bomb Shelter</em>Pictured: Jay Painter and Josh Luria in a scene from Bomb Shelter (photo © Anela Bence-Selkowitz)

Bomb Shelter in the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity is a compelling drama contrasting two tortured souls, a grandfather and his grandson, both at critical points in their lives. The production glides from dialogue, prerecorded text, music, and movement to present a compelling debate. This is not your usual family drama, but a surreal presentation of real people in crisis.

The body of the piece takes place in a claustrophobic basement where the characters cook a batch of crystal meth to sell. The creepy lighting and trippy sounds complement the actors’ increasingly inebriated performances to create a drug-hazed atmosphere as they embrace a pointed moral and political debate.

This is a raw production, more dramatic performance piece than play, presenting questions but not necessarily answering them. Conventional dialogue suddenly ceases and prerecorded monologues pulsate amid ambient urban music and sounds; the actors express themselves in movement and dance. The various disciplines overlap and collide beautifully. The story percolates, reaches a boiling point, and ends rather abruptly.

This is compelling work created by a talented production team from top to bottom. Kimberly Pau’s script is smart and textured. She knows her characters well, and they speak candidly from generations of life experience.  Tensions build and thaw between the characters as they bicker and pontificate; barriers gradually lift and secrets are revealed.

Director Eric Mercado makes bold choices to magnify the text: set designers casually walk on and off the stage positioning representational set pieces; props are handed to the actors; propaganda posters are paraded about; lights are manually switched on and off. The chaos only adds to the tension. It’s all effectively disturbing. DJ Karl Marx’s music and sound breathe exceptionally with the elements of Rachel R. Blackwell’s stark set design.

The actors are very capable working in this environment. Josh Luria, as the grandson, enters during the curtain speech, and we sense his urgency from the very beginning. Luria presents the troubled good guy persona well, spewing a rambling Edward Grimley-like barrage of anecdotes to his grandfather. Jay Painter has an excellent grasp of the physical and mental world of the elderly grandfather. His performance will stay with you.

This is what festival works should be about: raw, unpolished new productions by creative playwrights and artists exploring controversial themes in unconventional formats. We can only hope to hear more from this crew in the future.

This production might not be for theatregoers preferring a more linear narrative but it’s highly recommended for those looking for new theatrical experiences that excite our senses and challenge us intellectually.

Opened: June 2, 2011
Closes: June 12, 2011

Show Info

Synopsis: A scavenger play about one family’s honor and the right to kill.
More Info…
Venue: Gene Frankel Theatre
Running Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes; no intermission

Ticketing Info

Online Ticketing
Tickets On Sale Thru: June 12, 2011
Performance Schedule:
Jun 2 at 5pm, Jun 3 at 8:30pm, Jun 5 at 9pm, Jun 11 at 1pm, Jun 12 at 9pm

Artists Involved

  • Cast: Jay Painter, Josh Luria
  • Author: Kimberly Pau
  • Director: Eric Mercado
  • Designed By: Rachel R. Blackwell
  • Sound & Original Music: DJ Karl Marx

 

Jun 06

JUNE 2011

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

A Theasy Interview with Executive Director Glory Kadigan and Associate Director Melissa Moschitto

 

by O’Hagan Blades

 

O’Hagan Blades: How would you introduce the festival to someone who has never heard of it before?

Glory Kadigan: The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Inc. is New York’s premiere eco-friendly/socially conscious not-for-profit theatre festival. Fostering a diverse cross-section of performances, the festival seeks to inspire artists and audiences both creatively and fundamentally, in a festive atmosphere forming a community of like-minded artists. At the heart of the festivity are individuals striving to create professional, meaningful theatre, while supporting organizations, which give back to the community at large.

OB: There’s not really a founding story on your website.  Can you tell me about how the festival came to be?

GK: I have a long background both in theater and in community service and I wanted to combine my passion for those two areas. Every production is paired with a community organization that it raises money and awareness for. One day I invited some other people to meet me at a diner and I told them I thought it woud be a good idea if we opened a community oriented theater festivity.

OB: How did all the various staff become involved?

I hire about 90% of the staff myself.

 

OB: Is it run mostly by volunteers?

GK: All of the staff are paid small stipends.

OB: How do you choose which charities to include in the festival?

GK: The artists select them — but we do have guidelines for that and that’s in the festivity manual which you can download on the Artist Resources page of our website.

Melissa Moschitto: It’s a very personal process and often, artists choose an organization that is thematically linked to their show, which can be quite powerful. I’ve also had the pleasure to connect several shows and artists with some non-profits that I know personally who are doing amazing work. Whether the charity is big or small, this type of partnership is really gratifying. It helps to create a network between the arts and charitable organizations all over New York City and beyond!

OB: How do you select which shows to include in the festival?

GK: I see about three shows a week throughout the year and sometimes solicit artists. And some people just apply of their own volition. I read all the scripts myself and create a line-up each season.

OB: I see that the socio-political topics of the festival extend beyond the environment, especially into LGBT and women’s issues, education, etc. Is this coincidence or intentional alliance? In other words, do you see these sorts of issues as linked with sustainability, ie that the idea of a sustainable planet is not just about physical sustainability?

GK: I see it as linked. It certainly is not just a coincidence. Many of these causes — and others the festivty supports — are near and dear to my heart.

OB: You seek to “build a more sustainable theater and planet through the power of entertainment.” What exactly is the “power of entertainment?” Is “entertainment” a better vehicle for a public message than say, a bill in Congress?

GK: Well in ancient Greece, theater/entertainment was used to develop the spirit of a community, and to develop the souls and minds of the people within that community. I believe that it still does this today.

OB: Do you think it is an artist’s responsibility to try to make the world a better place? In other words, is “art for art’s sake” a luxury, an irresponsibility, a selfish indulgence, or a perfectly viable motivation that is just not represented in this festival?

GK: Well, its up to each individual. Personally, I as an artist do my best to help people learn about others that are different from them, and in turn learn about themselves. I hope to have the audience walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit.  But there are a lot of various artists in the world and I think its all valid. I would like to see more people creating and being involved with their communities. Also — you haven’t asked about the benifit of “working on a theater production.” Whether someone is trained or not trained — I believe people from all walks of life should participate in the creation of theater and/or other art forms.

 
OB: Do you think the greater audience of this festival is already in agreement with its ideals? In other words, are you preaching to the choir? Are there really non-eco-friendly attendees who need to be persuaded to change their ways?

GK: Well, I may be preaching to a choir but many people in that choir have little to no idea what they as individuals can accomplish. We educate the artists every year on how they can be eco-friendly on their budgets and connect their productions directly to the community. Even on Broadway, if you asked the people working on those productions if they supported the environment, many of them would tell you “yes” — and yet, an entire forrest is destroyed every day just from the Broadway Playbills alone.  So, it may be to a choir, but we’re helping people understand what they can do, and what’s within their control as artists.

And yes there are people who come to the festivity every year who are changed by it. One of the artists told me that prior to the festivity he had never volunteered in his community but now he and his daughter volunteer regularly for the charitable cause his production represented. He told me it has really strengthened his relationship with his daughter.  When you come to the festivity you may see a little 10-year old girl out collecting money with her Dad after one of the shows. That’s one of the ways the festivity makes a difference in the community.

MM: I think our audience fills in the full spectrum of the eco-aware! We have such a wide variety of theatre offerings — in style, content and form — that it draws a wide array of people. Someone might attend specifically because we’re eco-friendly and if they do, I hope they’ll learn something new about how they can make more sustainable and earth-conscious choices in their daily lives (we’re trying to lead by example!). Or, someone else might come specifically for one show that they are interested in and perhaps one of our eco-displays will inspire them to think further about, say, water usage. We’re also trying to build a huge wave of positive energy surrounding being green — it’s not a burden and we don’t have to change everything but we can all work together to make a collective cultural shift. I think Planet Connections is proof of that!

 
OB: Do you find live performance to be especially suitable to environmental advocacy because of the way in which it happens in a moment and then is gone without trace (the way, perhaps, we should live as people), or is it simply the medium you’ve chosen? In other words, could static art achieve the same message?

GK: Of course static art could achieve the same message, but, I like people and I like to see them interacting and working together to create beutiful art. That builds community. And I’m all about that.

MM: You can’t replace the energy that is created by people interacting in the same space — actor to actor, audience to performers, staff to guests. Hmmm….maybe we should find a way to capture all of that amazing, buzzing energy in our lobbies and turn it into electricity to power the space!!

 

(The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity features 35 full-length productions and 15 readings through June 26, 2011. Performances take place at the Robert Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette, and the Gene Frankel Theater, 24 Bond Street. For the full schedule and more infomation visit planetconnections.org.)

 

Jun 04

Goliath

nytheatre.com review

Kimberly ‘Sparkle’ Stewart · June 4, 2011

On Saturday night, I witnessed one of the rare gifts that theatre bestows upon us from time to time—a powerful and passionately produced piece, raising important questions about the world we live in today. That piece is Goliath, produced by Poetic Theater Productions for the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.

Goliath is a one act choreopoem relentlessly written by Takeo Rivera. It is the story of a young soldier, David, who heads off to the Iraq war to become the man others expect him to be, and loses the man who he wants to become in the process. It is driven by the want to understand why.

Described in the program as a “writer, scholar, and activist,” Rivera has written a poem/play that reveals an intellect wrestling with the actions and morality of war and finding no simple solutions. It is structured as a series of vignettes detailing David’s choice to go to war as it is understood by those closest to him. In the way of poetry, the feelings come fast and descriptively, allowing a wide range of characters’ history—emotional and temporal—to be shared. Rivera uses elements of slam poetry in a powerful way, using the excitement and aggression of that form superbly to invoke specific moments of rage and frustration.  The action is tightly structured. It is a shared revelation, with David making discoveries along with the audience. Rivera’s skills as a poet allow the beauty of a mother’s love and the shallowness of teenage feeling to co-exist and be given their due without diminishing either experience. Both are equal and both share a different facet of the person David is. By the time Rivera reveals what kind of boy-man the audience has invested in, he has made the questions so much more powerful and significant. This is a challenging piece with no easy answers. The writer’s passion toward these causes infuses the entire play with an importance. There is something here that concerns the audience and something it needs to grapple with.

Alex Mallory’s direction is deft. Each actor is a character in David’s life, but also a member of a sort of Greek chorus commenting on the world that surrounds him and his choices. Her staging allows the actors to slip seamlessly among these roles and it unobtrusively supports and defines the poetry that it is rooted in. She creates evocative movement that often suggests the realism of war photojournalism in a couple of moments, and then the youthful tableau of a house party with an ease and grace that orients the audience to the map of this quick moving piece. There is a polish to the choices and a meaning to her arrangement of the actors upon the stage that slowly reveals itself as the action proceeds. If I found one note false, it is in the choice to have an actress at a crucial moment freeze while the action around her is described. I felt the moment would have been more powerful with some physicalization of the pain and suffering she experienced.

This is truly a talented ensemble cast, led by M. Scott Frank as David. His choices convey an unsure tenderness and tough-guy mentality that fuel his frustration. As his anti-war activist sister Sandy, Samantha Cooper is a tremendous joy to watch, with unexpected complexity and compassion for a soldier in a war she hates and a brother she is losing. Other strong moments include Dontonio Demarco as a U.S-crazed drill sergeant and Natalia Duong as his high school sweetheart who regrets giving up a 4-year college for marriage to an active duty soldier.

The play is opened with a poem from the Wounded Warriors Project. This added an additional measure of truth. The play does not quite capture that sense of a soldier day-to-day in Iraq, but this poem, written by a soldier who served there, was the perfect complement.

This short one act—around 45 minutes—was well worth the trip to see it. I have found myself turning the issues raised by the play over and over in my head. It packs a powerful punch. The story of this wounded warrior haunts me.

Opened: June 1, 2011
Closes: June 18, 2011

 

Jun 02

GO→ Poetic Theater Company’s Goliath is one of the plays kicking off The Planet Connections Theater Festivity — an eco-friendly/socially conscious theater festival — on June 1. Goliath centers on a soldier returning from the Iraq War and how his life has been irrevocably changed based on his actions overseas. Directed by Alex Mallory. (Robert Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor,info/tickets)

Jun 02

* Poetic Theater Productions

“Goliath”

9:00 PM

Robert Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor, Manhattan
Takeo Rivera’s choreopoem addresses the Iraq war and its effect on American idealism as it explores manhood and war and violence at home and abroad.
Admission: $18
For more information, please visit
www.poetictheater.com/goliath