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December 11, 2014

Sunset Baby at the Kitchen Theater

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 1:47 am

sunsetbaby3 sunsetbaby1 sunsetbaby2Get Thee to the Kitchen!

       Ithaca has its own little Off Broadway theatre, the intimate space at the Kitchen Theatre, now in its 22nd season. The quality matches anything, anywhere: one certainly imagines they are in the theater district of New York when sitting in the ‘Kitchen.’

      Currently on the boards through December 21st, Sunset Baby transports us into an intriguing world of activism, loyalties and betrayals, and the explosive dynamics of estranged family. The emotions of Dominique Morisseau’s work, while set in a unique set of circumstances, resonate in most of our lives, including grief, addiction and co-dependency, rage and resentment, hurt and forgiveness, disappointment and dreams. And although I came away with a heightened awareness of the African American experience and a fresh new perspective and appreciation for lives devoted to activism, and while these are worthy sidebars to be sure, Sunset Baby is so much more than that.

        The play could have been titled “Choices”; for me it speaks to the kind of choices that lead to transformation. Nina (played by Gillian Glasco) is the daughter of a recently deceased activist and drug addict, whose estranged father turns up (Alexander Thomas) after an extended prison term and is soundly shut down by her understandable rage at his past choice of the ‘cause’ over the family. Nina has some choices of her own to make, the most immediate one about what to do with her mother’s letters. The third character, Nina’s boyfriend and partner in crime (Carl Hendrick Louis), struggles with fatherhood of an estranged son as well as with Nina’s loyalties.

       Lesser issues – and choices – of betrayal, grief, denial, and some obvious deception on Nina’s part are woven into the foundation of the relationships and yet this is not a depressing piece of work, but a beacon of hope. Betrayal and forgiveness dance around one another, changing places and positions on the dance floor, keeping everyone on their toes in anticipation. The true struggle – the one within, the letting go of all you know in order to be liberated – shines through. Accompanying the three characters on their journey is a worthy heart wrenching experience and as I headed out into the night from the theater, I felt transformed.

        I have written much about the talent of Resident Director Margaret Perry, and with good reason. Guiding her casts to the depths of their souls and back again is a joy to witness when I step into the Kitchen. The acting never disappoints at the Kitchen, but I was particularly blown away by this cast, each one of them represented by Actor’s Equity Association. The experience is complete through the creative talents of David L. Arsenault, Scenic Design; David L. Arsenault and Andrew Scharwath, Lighting Design; Amanda Cardwell-Aiken, Costume Design; and Ryan Mutton, Sound Design. Pops Manager is Danielle Bulajewski, Technical Director is Brendan Komala, and Production Stage Manager is Jennifer Schilansky.

      If you are in town this December, you can hopefully make it to Sunset Baby. If you have missed it, the next production at the Kitchen Theater is Count Me In by Rachel Lampert, January 14- February 1. The Kitchen Theater experience is one of Ithaca’s crowning jewels –affordable, cutting edge theater that rivals anything seen in the large cities. We like it this way. Run, don’t walk, to the Kitchen!

      The Kitchen is located at 417 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Ithaca    (607) 273-4497 or www.kitchentheatre.org.

 

 

 

 

September 18, 2014

Get Thee to the Kitchen!

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 12:44 am

Ithaca has its own little Off Broadway theatre, the intimate space at the Kitchen Theatre, now in its 22nd season. The quality matches anything, anywhere: one certainly imagines they are in the theater district of New York when sitting in the ‘Kitchen.’

Currently on the boards through September 28th, The House, is so hilarious you may awaken the following morning with the urge to continue howling, or at the very least giggle your way to the breakfast table. Anyone who has ever bought or sold a house will relate. Anyone who has not will digest this experience and proceed with caution when their time comes.

Although the action borders on farce and the absurd, the emotions explored are so real, so raw, even the characters are taken by surprises at their own spontaneous reactions as they are swept along in a rhythmic current that they have no choice but to surrender to. The play takes place in the “home” of question with two couples, sellers and buyers, joining together for a celebratory cocktail after the purchase.

Although the transaction has been completed, the cordial act of sharing a drink together takes unexpected turns, revealing the diversity of life experience as regards what “home” means to the individual. The complex range between the four characters will provide at least one experience that will resonate with each viewer, but will push to new corners of unfamiliar territory within the interactions of the foursome. That is the miracle of the work. Get ready for a ride.

The brilliance of playwright Brian Parks and director Margarett Perry is matched with breathtaking performances from the cast: Dana Berger, Matthew Boston, Elizabeth Meadows Rouse, and Matthew Bretscheider, the last three of whom appear courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. Likewise lighting and scenic design by Tyler M. Perry, costume design by Lisa Boquist, and sound design by Lesley Greene add deeply to the experience.

If you are in town this month, you can hopefully make it to the world premiere of The House. If you have missed it, the next production at the Kitchen Theater is Lonely Planet by Steven Dietz, October 15 – November 2. The Kitchen Theater experience is one of Ithaca’s crowning jewels –affordable, cutting edge theater that rivals anything seen in the large cities. We like it this way. Run, don’t walk, to the Kitchen!

The Kitchen is located at 417 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Ithaca

(607) 273-4497 or www.kitchentheatre.org.

 

 

 

 

June 17, 2014

Get Thee to the Kitchen

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 1:01 pm

Slashes of Light_054 Slashes of Light_002 Slashes of Light_009 Slashes of Light_032Get Thee to the Kitchen!

 

Ithaca has its own little Off Broadway theatre, the intimate space at the Kitchen Theatre, now in its 22nd season. The quality matches anything, anywhere: one certainly imagines they are in the theater district of New York when sitting in the ‘Kitchen.’

Currently on the boards is an encore production that is co-produced with the Civic Ensemble, a local company committed to engaging its community in new ways. It is always exciting when theater companies collaborate and this case is no exception. In fact, I left the theater breathless, wishing there were a sequel to look forward to – a word I actually loathe. Slashes of Light accomplishes more than one theme, pushes more than one button, and satisfies myriad opportunities of reflection.

One of the themes that comes up in the play dialogue between teacher and students is “contrasts”. There are multiple contrasts directly explored through the piece – from the mundane black/white issues on the surface of the mind of a young student and black panther recruit in the early 60s to contrasts of experience, artistic expression, coping methods, parenting, addressing scandal vs attempting to understand motivation behind scandal, and various kinds of trauma. Contrasts between comfort and environment, understanding and establishment of boundaries, and individual need and identity. The list goes on but it does not overwhelm.

The characters stand alone in strength and spirit, each hopelessly intertwined with the others but emphatically struggling for independence and self-knowledge. The young female student comes of age through her relationships with a best friend, a teacher and a love interest; each of these more complicated, – yes, even damaged – than her and each needing to absorb a piece of her innocence. The teacher with a past that is not so much a shock as a continuing cause of suffering, fueling an inner struggle of her own that her charges could not begin to comprehend, and the unusual bonds she forges with her students. Two male students, of the same race but not of the same temperament, experience, nor even condition, again such contrasts, never ending parade of contrasts. The characters’ approach and reactions to these contrasts – to life as they discover it – are the stuff that moves one to tears.

The actors are stellar, better than that, actually. The depth of emotion reached within this cast is astounding and worth witnessing. They are Sarah Chalmers, Robert McKay, Judi Jackson, Jelani Pitcher, and Ryan Travis, representing a piece of ensemble work that will haunt me. Playwright Judy Tate and Director Melissa Maxwell deserve awards for their work. This is a way to end the current season but guess what! It’s not over until June 29th. I recommend making it a priority for anyone in town this month.

The Kitchen is located at 417 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Ithaca

(607) 273-4497 or www.kitchentheatre.org.

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2014

Kitchen Theatre Presents: Lung by Duncan MacMillan

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 9:56 am

               Ithaca has its own little Off Broadway theatre; the intimate space at the Kitchen Theatre. The quality matches anything, anywhere; one certainly imagines they are in the theatre district of New York when sitting in the “Kitchen”. On the boards now is a two person piece that I highly recommend if you are visiting Ithaca this April – titled ‘Lung’ by Duncan MacMillan.

                Witnessing the driving dialogue of Lung is like riding in a speeding car during a chase while someone in the car narrates the scene to you in running commentary to keep you up to speed. You cant catch your breath and your adrenalin is racing – a good adrenalin, mind you. Like a good work out, eventually your heart rate slows and you ease into the pace, following on your own and come to realize that you are witnessing a most intimate moment or two in a developing relationship between two people. And it is riveting, mesmerizing.

                When we enter their world, the couple is exploring the next question in their lives, quickly  becoming locked in overdrive, trying to figure out what they want – baby or not, consequentially their collective carbon footprints – analyzing every move. That is “she” questions in non-stop stream of conscious, while “he” struggles to keep up with her train of thought. It’s like an audio Kathy comic strip stuck in fast forward. But these lovers and their conscious minds grow on us into full blown nuance, coming to life in all its ever evolving, messy complexity. And the simple opening question at the start of their journey together (and apart) serves as launching pad for the bigger questions of full and long lives. Do not expect predictability. I recommend you come with an open mind and share a lifetime with them.

                The bigger questions in life go beyond global climate change and whether or not to become parents. Says playwright Duncan MacMillan “I wanted to write something for two really good actors where they could tell a story unmediated by props, scene changes, costume changes, lighting or sound queues – just two bodies in space letting the audience fill in the gaps.” The play is written for a bare stage that serves up a whole lifetime.

                It is also written, as MacMillan states, for excellent actors and has this in the cast of Anne Troup and Jesse Bush, whose work is quite literally breathtaking.  Brilliantly paced direction is by Michele Minnick, lighting by Tyler M. Perry, costume design by Lisa Boquist, and original music and sound design by Anthony Mattana.

                Lung runs through April 13, with matinees on Sundays. Next up at the Kitchen is Seminar by Theresa Rebeck April 30-May 18, followed by Slashes of Light by Judy Tate June 11 – June 29.  To purchase tickets call 607-272-0570or online at kitchentheatre.org. the Kitchen Theatre is located at 417 West Martin Luther King Blvd/State Street in Ithaca, 14850.

December 12, 2013

Kitchen Theatre Company presents: Black Pearl Sings! By Frank Higgins

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 2:24 pm

Black Pearl Sings!   By Frank Higgins

December 4 – December 22, 2013

Kitchen Theatre Company

Tickets: www.KitchenTheatre.org

417 W. State/MLK Jr. Street, Ithaca 14850

Lisa Gaye Dixon and Emily Dorsch in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

Lisa Gaye Dixon and Emily Dorsch in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

 

With a slide blues guitar placing the story during the early 1930’s, Black Pearl Sings! opens onto an office reserved at a Texas prison for ethnomusicologist Susannah (Emily Dorsch). She works for the Library of Congress and her project is to collect and record songs from prisoners who are descended from slaves who arrived in this country from Africa.  Pearl  (Lisa Gaye Dixon) is an inmate who grew up among a population of Black Americans called the Gullah on an island off the coast of South Carolina. The Gullah, brought to this remote region on slave-trade ships, trace their lineage back to tribes on the west coast of Africa near Sierra Leone.  The play is about the centrality of music as a means to keep cultural communities together by passing down their songs and to bring various cultures together through the sharing of their songs.

Pearl is slow to warm up to Susannah, to trust an unmarried White woman with her songs: spirituals of the praise houses [church]; work songs from the rice fields and songs of oppression (including communications hidden from the master overseer); songs that mean one thing to a six year girl take on an entirely different meaning as she grows into her body; love songs for family and lovers. So much can be expressed through lyrics and body language.  Susannah proves to Pearl that she’s genuinely engaged with the songs and their purpose by playing her autoharp and singing Appalachian songs she’d collected previous research trips in the Southeast. Both actresses have beautiful complementary voices that are important to the story.

Lisa Gaye Dixon and Emily Dorsch in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

Lisa Gaye Dixon and Emily Dorsch in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

In a sense, their relationship develops much as the songs themselves are structured, as a call (A) and response (B).  The two women “play” each other, tease each other, bait, argue and distrust each other.  By sharing songs and personal stories they develop trust and a strategy to get Pearl paroled from prison to help herself, to find her missing daughter, and to help Suzannah gain an academic position that had been “stolen” from her by her former white male boss.

The second act takes place in a Greenwich Village apartment where the two of them are on tour with Pearl singing her songs that Susannah recorded.  Conflicts ignite between the two of them as Suzannah falls into the trap of pursuing an academic reputation at the expense of Pearl’s growing self-respect as a performer earning a living.

Emily Dorsch and Lisa Gaye Dixon in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

Emily Dorsch and Lisa Gaye Dixon in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

This play is set in early 1930s America during the Great Depression. As part of the Federal Work Administration (WPA), the Federal Music Project and the Federal Art Project, often working with the Library of Congress, started collecting regional folksongs, works of art, and conducting audiotaped interviews of the “common man.”  These cultural collections became topics of interest in academic circles as well as the public through concert performances and exhibitions that were a double-edged sword: the broadening of people’s understanding of regional differences among American citizens sometimes led to voyeuristic and financial opportunism.

Lisa Gaye Dixon and Emily Dorsch in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

Lisa Gaye Dixon and Emily Dorsch in the Kitchen Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins.

It’s really true, “Important conversations happen in the Kitchen.”  Go there and listen to some beautiful singing while learning about early 20th century America’s cultural differences that attempt to cross boundaries into understanding and acceptance.

 

Black Pearl Sings! Creative Team

The Actors

Lisa Gaye Dixon (Pearl) and Emily Dorsch (Susannah)

Production staff

Director: Sara Lampert Hoover

Lighting and Scenic Designer: David Arsenault

Costume Designer: Lisa Boquist

Sound Designer: Anthony Mattana

Production Stage Manager: Jennifer Schilansky

 

October 21, 2013

Kitchen Theatre Presents: “From White Plains”

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 9:34 pm

From White Plains
October 16 – November 10; Kitchen Theatre
417 W. MLK Jr./State St. in Ithaca NY 14850
TIX: (607) 272 0570     www.kitchentheatre.org

From White Plains was conceived and directed by Michael Perlman, and written and developed in collaboration with the original company of actors and designers.  Sustained after-effects of high school bullying (15 years later) is at the heart of this play that asks tough questions about maturity, vengeance, anger, love, friendship and ultimately forgiveness.

Ethan checking a text message while John hovers trying to get Ethan to talk about what he did to Mitchell.

Ethan checking a text message while John hovers trying to get Ethan to talk about what happened.

Friends since college, Ethan (Aaron Rossini) and John (Craig Wesley Divino) are listening to filmmaker Dennis’s (Karl Gregory) Oscar acceptance speech while watching the Academy awards on television. Dennis names Ethan as the high school bully who caused his friend Mitchell to commit suicide and whose story is portrayed in his film.  At first Ethan denies the charge to John, but once he gets a drink into him his memory hazily comes back. John wants to know what he did to Mitchell. Then comes the onslaught of social media (cellphone calls that aren’t answered initially) from his friends and family who also heard it on the television.  This prompts Ethan to make a video of apology and post it on-line because he doesn’t consider himself a bully and believes this will stop the public harassment and humiliation on Facebook and elsewhere. It doesn’t. At one point, John says, “Tell me what happened in high school to make someone kill himself.”

Dennis working on his response video to Ethan.

Dennis working on a response video to Ethan.

While Dennis constructs the first of several response videos to post on the internet, his life partner Gregory (Jimmy King) tries to encourage him to tone down the harsh, angry language but with only some influence.  Dennis wants revenge for Ethan’s egregious behavior during high school. And of course this exchange grows heated as it mines yet another vein of the intertwined themes of love and respect: their relationship to each other, to their families and to their LGBT community.

Gregory and Dennis working through the rough patches of their relationship.

Gregory and Dennis working through their differences.

We later learn that Dennis was also a victim of Ethan’s relentless bullying of weaker boys to a get a laugh out of his friends.  Dennis still hears Ethan’s voice in his head and when he finally meets Ethan again, remembers ”the glee in your eyes when you saw us coming.”

Each of the two sets of men make several attempts to understand what’s causing certain behaviors; alliances weaken with each new piece of information that questions the nature of their respective relationships. The languages of body and spoken word shift down slowly, speed up abruptly and are constantly in motion while being interrupted (or goaded on) by the social media technology of texts, tweets, messaging, posting on laptops, that at times seem to raise the level of tension to a fever pitch.

Separately (invisible to each other) Ethan and Dennis spar in the ether-net.

Separately (invisible to each other) Ethan and Dennis spar in the ether-net.

All four actors strongly embrace their individual characters in what must be a difficult play to perform, let alone watch.  From White Plains addresses several important modes of public and private behavior that our society continues to struggle with today and sheds an important light on the limits of forgiveness.  From White Plains is a “must see” play.

June 11, 2013

Kitchen Theatre’s production “What I Thought I Knew”

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 8:06 pm

Kitchen Theatre’s production: “What I Thought I Knew.” Written & performed by Alice Eve Cohen.  June 12 – 30, 2013. For information &  tickets: (607) 273 4497   kitchentheatre.org

Get Thee to the Kitchen!

Ithaca has its own little Off Broadway theatre, the intimate space at the Kitchen Theatre, now in its 22nd season. The quality matches anything, anywhere: one certainly imagines they are in the theater district of New York when sitting in the ‘Kitchen.’

The last play of the season leaves you gasping, chuckling, and pondering for months to come. “What I Thought I Knew” is a solo piece evolved from a book – a memoire – by Alice Eve Cohen. It is a story so personal and so bizarre that it feels almost painful to witness, even while your thumb is glued to the remote and you continue to watch – paralyzed, spellbound – as it unfolds.

You leave the theater and days pass but this story does not fade with the passing time. It haunts and teases you towards the awareness that Cohen’s story, while bizarre in its moment, is real and actual commentary – a true documentary of our broken health care system and the nation’s dramatic controversy over reproductive rights and women’s health. Cohen herself once eerily described the work as “life imitating art imitating life”. The sentiment is appropriate to me; I continue to reflect on the hot button issues the author/actress lived and worked through day by day and hour by hour.

There are some forty characters in the piece, all played by – Alice Eve Cohen! Her ability to portray each from a place of authenticity and clear objective provides brilliant perception into the contrasting truths of the characters that must work through the dramas and arrive at a place where he/she can live with his or her choices. There is no shortage of humor either, especially with the personalities of the many health care professionals who weigh in on this particular journey.

Cohen shifts and slides among them all on a white square floor, literally framed by a white ceiling border (frame). Set design is by Tyler M. Perry. She flows between doctors’ offices, hospitals, and personal space, just as she herself moves through a litany of agonizing choices that change constantly as information arrives and evolves.

This journey is real and though I have used the word ‘bizarre’, I feel it would have felt more so a decade ago when it took place. Today, I’m not so sure. The world is becoming an ever more confusing place, and I shudder to think how this journey would play out today or a decade from now. Stuff to ponder, that much is clear. I am telling all my friends and acquaintances to run – don’t walk – to the Kitchen Theater before it closes for the summer on June 30th.

Alice Eve Cohen is a national touring author and playwright. She has written for Nickolodeon, the Children’s Television Workshop, and CBS. The memoire ‘What I Think I Knew’ won the Elle’s Lettres 2009 Grand Prix and was selected as a Best Book by Oprah Magazine. Anne Lamont called it her favorite book of 2009. It is available through most book vendors. She teaches a course in solo theater at the New School in New York City.

Longtime friend and colleague Rachel Lampert, Artistic Director of the Kitchen Theater, restaged the play for the Kitchen’s performance space. The play was originally directed by Elizabeth Margid. Sound design is by Eric Nightingale and stage manager is Jennifer Schilansky. Pre-show talks have been a feature for the run, and the next one is June 27th. Talk back night is set for on June 28th.

 

WhatIThoughtTech-ED_107

WhatIThoughtTech-ED_47

WhatIThoughtTech-ED_5

Photo credits: Ed Dittenhoefer

May 15, 2013

Kitchen Theatre’s “And Lately…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — BBGI @ 11:15 pm
LatelyTech-PhotoCredit-EdDittenhoefer-40.jpg - The supporting cast of And, Lately...:   Megan Christine, Lynn Craver, Lesley Greene, Emily Jackson, Montana Lampert Hoover, Stephen Nunley, Ally Poole, Xavier Reyes. Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer.

The supporting cast of And, Lately…: Megan Christine, Lynn Craver, Lesley Greene, Emily Jackson, Montana Lampert Hoover, Stephen Nunley, Ally Poole, Xavier Reyes. Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer.

Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer

The ensemble sings to Rachel Lampert in her piece, And, lately… With Megan Christine, Lynn Craver, Lesley Greene, Emily Jackson, Montana Lampert Hoover, Stephen Nunley, Ally Poole, Xavier Reyes , and piano playing by Richard Montgomery. Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer.

A song by the supporting cast of And, Lately...:   Megan Christine, Lynn Craver, Lesley Greene, Emily Jackson, Montana Lampert Hoover, Stephen Nunley, Ally Poole, Xavier Reyes. Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer.

A song by the supporting cast of And, Lately…: Megan Christine, Lynn Craver, Lesley Greene, Emily Jackson, Montana Lampert Hoover, Stephen Nunley, Ally Poole, Xavier Reyes. Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer.

- A dance number by the supporting cast of And, Lately...:   Megan Christine, Lynn Craver, Lesley Greene, Emily Jackson, Montana Lampert Hoover, Stephen Nunley, Ally Poole, Xavier Reyes. Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer.

– A dance number by the supporting cast of And, Lately…: Megan Christine, Lynn Craver, Lesley Greene, Emily Jackson, Montana Lampert Hoover, Stephen Nunley, Ally Poole, Xavier Reyes. Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer.

For review of … And Lately see the Stage section of ithaca.com, the website of the Ithaca Times.

The show runs through May 18.

Kitchen Theatre’s Production: The Motherf**cker With the Hat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — BBGI @ 4:27 pm

Ithaca has its own little Off Broadway theatre, the intimate space at the Kitchen Theatre, now in its 22nd season. The quality matches anything, anywhere: one certainly imagines they are in the theater district of New York when sitting in the ‘Kitchen.’
I was swept away by [last month’s] offering, “The Motherf**ker with the Hat”, by Stephen Adly Guigis. It is difficult to distinguish which is more brilliant – the script, the direction, or the acting. These come together with a force that snaps the breath right out of you, played out in the landscape of New York’s Nuyorican community and its cultural bonds.
I cannot decide if a key element is passionate hypocrisy or hypocritical compassion. The five characters are written and played with authentic shifts through their myriad fantasies and angst and you are right there with them even when you reject their choices. These five human beings really believe what their twisted, manipulative minds have told themselves. And they are true victims- of circumstance, of code, of their own addictive behaviors and belief system, of “settling” – each a victim especially of his or her own justifications. And each harbors a longing for something they don’t even trust.
Anyone who has experienced recovery programs will begin on a familiar footing with the play’s language, but will not stay there. Those new to the 12 step world will discover a rich but confusing tapestry. Either way, the authenticity will both resonate and confound. The characters Jackie, Veronica, Ralph, Victoria, and Jackie’s cousin Julio move through pipe-dreams, jobs, jealousy, rage, forgiveness, infidelity, violence, despair, hope, acceptance – all in the name of sobriety, with an underlying layer of addiction that binds them together and in a sad, sick way, grounds them. Their collisions are not simply displays of emotions. Each one of the quintet shifts between states of the mind as seamlessly as if the transition was emotionless. Whatever it was, it was real as you, the audience, traveled there too. And just when you expect any one character to slide into stereotype, he/she instead evolves with nuance, depth and vulnerability. Talk about the present moment! It is impossible to be anywhere else.
The quintet of actors is a monster cast out of New York: Vaneik Echeverria, David Anzuelo, Karina Arroyave, Dina Ann Comolli, and Brandon Morris. They are all so top notch it would feel unseemly to single out any one from the group. Director Margarett Perry is no stranger to the Kitchen Theater and I look forward to anything she lays a hand on. This piece, however, is beyond anything I have seen locally in years and her direction of it is a stand out.
Award winning playwright Guirgis is also a screenwriter, actor, director and co-artistic director of New York’s LAByrinth Theater Company. His works reflect ethnic and racial multiplicity and his plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the US. Additionally he has written for NYPD Blue and The Sopranos, among many TV credits. The MotherF**ker with the Hat received six Tony nominations.
Enormous contributions come also from the design team: David Arsenault, scenic; Tyler M. Perry, lighting; Lisa Boquist, costumes; and Ian Crawford, sound.

There are two more opportunities to experience the Kitchen this season:
From May 8 to 19 ” And, Lately…”, a musical theater evening of stories and possible conclusions as a personal inventory of landing in a new place, by Rachel Lampert.

From June 12 through 30 presents Alice Eve Cohen’s charming story of motherhood, our fractured medical system, and the surprising choices that life can send our way. Based on her best selling book, an Oprah 25 Best Summer Books pic, comes “What I Thought I Knew”, written and performed by Alice Eve Cohen.

Any one of these plays is reason enough to visit our little Mecca called Ithaca. You will find so much to do here, but good theatre is one thing not to be taken for granted and here in Ithaca, we appreciate the quality of our theatre.
The Kitchen is located at 417 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Ithaca
(607) 273-4497 or www.kitchentheatre.org.

March 8, 2013

Kitchen Theatre’s production of “Crooked”

Filed under: Uncategorized — BBGI @ 11:49 pm

Ithaca has its own little Off Broadway theatre, the intimate space at the Kitchen Theatre. The quality matches anything, anywhere: one certainly imagines they are in the theater district of New York when sitting in the ‘Kitchen.’
I had the opportunity on March 9th to see a production of Crooked, by Catherine Trieschmann, which runs through March 17th. The emotional ride of this delicate production teeters between full-blown teenage angst and drama and the edge of a deeper potential anguish. Relationships between mother and daughter, single parent and single child, child and missing father, teenage friendship, truth and drama – all these and more are explored with equal parts intensity and humor. Three characters unravel these many layers. The piece provides emotions that range from authentic and fulfilling to more disturbing and unresolved issues.
The acting was achingly exquisite by each of three actresses who wove a seamless tapestry together. Erin Jerozal dances to the histrionics of a complicated child with grace, concern, frustration, patience, humor, sincerity, and always an underlying fear that the audience can taste. Her daughter, played by talented and believable Molly Stoller, struggles with an unedited, teenage stream of thought that hints at a more troubled existence and strives for control. The third party mix is lovingly played by Ally Poole, a firebrand religious zealot who struggles with her own insecurities, beliefs, and doubt. The piece was superbly directed by Rachel Lampert who describes it as, “eavesdropping on conversations not meant to be public.”
The 2013 spring season continues with three more outstanding productions, each worth a special trip to Ithaca.
*From April 10 through April 28th, a comedy sensation from Broadway last season on addition, recovery, and adultery: The MotherF**ker With the Hat.
*Following this comes And, Lately…, a musical theater evening of stories and possible conclusions as a personal inventory of landing in a new place, by Rachel Lampert. It runs from May 8 through May 19th.
* June 12 through 30 presents Alice Eve Cohen’s charming story of motherhood, our fractured medical system, and the surprising choices that life can send our way. Based on her best selling book, an Oprah 25 Best Summer Books pic, comes What I Thought I Knew, written and performed by Alice Eve Cohen.
Any one of these plays is reason enough to visit our little mecca called Ithaca. You will find so much to do here, but good theatre is one thing not to be taken for granted and here in Ithaca, we appreciate the quality of our theatre.

For tickets: (607) 273 4497 / kitchentheatre.org

Erin Jerozal, Ally Poole and Molly Stollerd in KTC's production of "Crooked"

Photo Credit: Ed Dittenhoefer Photography

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