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“Ryan Is Lost” at FringeNYC 2014 at the 64E4 Mainstage Theatre (Closes on Sunday August 24, 2014)

David Haverty and Brittany Allen in "Ryan Is Lost"
“Ryan Is Lost” at FringeNYC 2014 at the 64E4 Mainstage Theatre (Closes on Sunday August 24, 2014)
Written by Nathan Wellman
Directed by Michael Nankin
Reviewed by David Roberts and Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

The NY International Fringe Festival is presenting “Ryan Is Lost” a new play by Nathan Wellman which is an intriguing, interesting and brooding two character drama. If one could imagine, it would be the offspring of “Waiting for Godot” and “The Zoo Story.” It is absurdly provocative as it slowly retrieves simmering emotions to the surface, allowing a boiling pain and intense relief.

Waiting here are Avis and Frank – an odd couple if ever there was one. Claiming to be sister and brother with a (perhaps) abusive father and one with a parole officer, they wait on a bench in a shopping mall for their nephew Ryan who has wandered off and not yet returned to the designated meeting area. As they wait, they engage in a marvelous nihilistic rant whose tragicomic content would make Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee proud.

Whether they are related or whether Ryan is even real matters not. Avis and Frank are strangers in a strange land unable to reach out to traditional constructs of protection and surcease. What matters is that they have found a safe place (for now) to protect themselves from the slings and arrows of their outrageous fortunes. Ryan’s being found might only make that sweeter still.

The two actors (Brittany Allen and David Haverty) are a force to be reckoned with, creating invisible shackles that bind them together, sharing, hoping, wanting and waiting for a savior. When there is an emotional eruption it shakes their stability and causes tremors and aftershocks which after a while become comfortable and easily ignored forbearers of doom. They are intense, ever present and draw breath from each other, sometimes suffocating, other times liberating but most of the time creating a vacuous void where they are safe. Ms Allen is remarkable, never missing an opportunity to carve another facet into her complex character (Avis) and with every turn shows strength, vulnerability, fear and an undetermined faith that everything will be all right. Mr. Haverty is an equal match, with an unbridled performance, infusing his character (Frank) with fervor, subtle delusion, survival and impetuous emotional outbreaks.

Michael Nankin deftly directs this production keeping a tight rein, never allowing it to wander, confining all the energy in a bombshell waiting to explode.

RYAN IS LOST

“Ryan Is Lost” is presented by Awake Unafraid Theatre in Association with The Present Company (Elena K Holy, Producing Artistic Director). Directed by Michael Nankin.

For performance schedule, ticketing information and more information about the presenting company, please visit www.FringeNYC.org. For mobile ticketing, please visit www.FringeonTheFly.com. The running time is 1 hour and 10 minutes with no intermission.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Posted by David Roberts on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

“A Touch of Forever” at FringeNYC 2014 at Teatro SEA at the Clememte (Closes on Saturday August 23, 2014)

“A Touch of Forever” at FringeNYC 2014 at Teatro SEA at the Clememte (Closes on Saturday August 23, 2014)
Written by Josiah DeAndrea
Directed by Michael Tartaglia
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

Gavin Blitz (Josiah DeAndrea) is on lithium. As he finishes his script for a pornographic film, he decides to stop taking his medication to clear his mind and allow him to complete his art-form contribution to the canon of online porn. The protagonist in his script Lucia appears throughout the play to assist, cajole, and warn her creator when he errs in judgment: this fiction “inside his head” ultimately finishes the script before Gavin’s untimely death. His sister Cassie’s “client” (yes, she is putting her way through college as a sex worker) enters the apartment and murders Gavin assuming he is Cassie’s favorite client. Once this is established in Mr. DeAndrea’s real life script for “A Touch of Forever,” it might have been a good idea to exit the theatre - audience right. Staying, however, with a nod to civility proved the wrong choice. There is nothing in this play worth an investment of one hundred precious minutes of one’s life.

“A Touch of Forever” is a depressing bit of theatre with a theme that happiness is not attainable and exists only as an elusive goal. Not a new theme and this play adds nothing new to the conversation.

This is not a reviewer’s attempt to be cruel; it is an authentic appeal to the playwright to reevaluate his script. Unfortunately, Mr. DeAndrea is a cast member and not able to have a proper perspective on his creation. Director Michael Tartaglia should have that perspective and is responsible for most of the bad choices made in this production. The cast – except for the playwright – remain blameless and unnamed in this review.

A TOUCH OF FOREVER

“A Touch of Forever” is presented by The Uncivilization Project in Association with The Present Company (Elena K. Holy, Producing Artistic Director). Directed by Michael Tartaglia.

The cast of “A Touch of Forever” includes Brett Marcus Coady, Rory Allan Meditz, Pooya Mohseni, Niko Papastefanou, Connie Saltzman, Jason Stanley, and Maggie Jane Tatone.

For performance schedule, ticketing information and more information about the presenting company, please visit www.FringeNYC.org. For mobile ticketing, please visit www.FringeonTheFly.com. The running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Posted by David Roberts on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

“Behind Closed Doors” at FringeNYC 2014 at Theatre 80 (Closes on Saturday August 23, 2014)

“Behind Closed Doors” at FringeNYC 2014 at Theatre 80 (Closes on Saturday August 23, 2014)
Book by Peter Berube
Music and Lyrics by Aaron Beaumont
Directed by Peter Berube
Reviewed by David Roberts and Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

There is a new musical being presented at Theatre 80 as part of the NY International Fringe Festival with the billing “Behind Closed Doors.” It is appropriate to explain what occurred behind closed doors at a recent performance. There to review the show, we took our seats promptly in the back row to avoid disturbing the performers or audience members while quickly scratching notes on our programs or notebooks. As the lights dimmed on a sold out performance, someone approached us and and asked if the empty seat next to us was taken; the response was “No,” so she proceeded to sit down apologetically mumbling that she was somebody involved with the production and had to text during the performance. That she did incessantly, until mid act decided to leave the theatre, only to arrive back a few minutes later to stand next to the patron sitting next to me, who in five minutes decided to leave (reason unknown) and then she returned to her seat only to continue to text. Then two patrons climbed over their seats in the back row and exited the theatre and returned a few minutes later to climb back into their seats - this despite the strict “No Reentry” warning. Then the first act ended, the house lights came up and we left. There really was no point in staying, since we missed most of the content of the first act from the distractions, and what we did see seemed like bad burlesque and a “Cabaret” wannabe. This behavior is unacceptable from any patron nonetheless a company member. We are not too familiar with theater etiquette in L.A., but this is certainly frowned upon in a New York theater. Hopefully this critique will improve behavior for the remaining performances so audience members can focus on what is happening on the stage.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

“Behind Closed Doors” is presented by Traveling Muse Productions in Association with The Present Company (Elena K Holy, Producing Artistic Director). Directed by Peter Berube.

For performance schedule, ticketing information and more information about the presenting company, please visit www.FringeNYC.org. For mobile ticketing, please visit www.FringeonTheFly.com. The running time is 2 hours and 20 minutes with one intermission.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Posted by David Roberts on Tuesday, August 19, 2014