In “Little Wing”, the character She, a young woman living in contemporary New York City, awakes one day to find — to her horror and disgust — that she has sprouted angel’s wings. The whys and the wherefores of this affliction aren’t really Condy’s concern here; the acceptance and love of self from without and from within are. “Little Wing” is a fragmented fugue of visceral images that refuses to fit neatly together, yet at the same time fuses into an estimable, driving synthesis of self-loathing, fear, longing and desire.
Condy’s text is enhanced considerably by an assured and appealing pair of young actors, Alicia Racine as She and Dominic Bogart as He, and by Elyzabeth Gorman’s strong direction. Gorman especially knows when to punch Condy’s text up and when to chill out and let it breathe.
Elyzabeth Gorman has cut and spliced Parts I and II of HENRY IV into an easy to follow transcription of the events leading up to the appointment of Prince Hal as King Henry V and his reformation from rebellious youth into a responsible monarch. This version of the play consists of a story in equal parts about the Percies Revolt and attempted abdication of King Henry IV; Falstaff and his foolish rise to fame; and the young Prince Hal’s maturity and ascension to reign.
DUMBO Books of Brooklyn
It was interesting to see people passing by stopping and then being so interested that they stood in the audience for the rest of the performance. We watched a towheaded four-year-old or so boy, walking by with his parents, who stood transfixed by the scene late in play when the king is falling ill and talking to his heir, in which Steve Viola (Henry IV) and Montgomery Sutton (Prince Hal) excelled. Sutton was impressive as the dissolute companion of Falstaff and as defender of his father’s throne – and ultimately, at play’s end, King Henry V; the transition, leading to his rejection of Falstaff, seems quite natural and consistent with the prince’s character.
The fight scenes were spectacular, and the decision to have them fought with arms as swords, made the action – which can be kind of stilted in some productions – incredibly visceral as hand-to-hand combat takes places almost in the audience. Ben Rezendes, who played the young John of Lancaster, the king’s other son, as sensitive and vulnerable, did really good work as fight choreographer, assisted by Jon Ledoux (who played the Chief Justice as dour, digniried and committed to the rule of law even when it’s against his own interests).
The staging challenges presented by the script are handled well by director Elizabeth Gorman. Ginger’s various internet personalities are shown in silhouette, framed by a network of pipes that form the walls of the apartment. The crudeness and raw perversion of the alter egos is reflected in the unfinished piping; the ugly stuff usually hidden by walls is left out in the open. On-stage mutilation is symbolically dealt with to avoid looking fake and ends up having a greater effect on the audience than any potential gory shocker could. And while such issues as abuse and cutting are explored, the play manages not to become a stereotypical emo whine by presenting the topics in a new and serious light.
The Fairy Tale of America
New York Theater Review
“The Fairy Tale of America,” by Michael Niederman, is Little Red Riding Hood meets Carl Hungus meets Hunter S. Thompson. Yeah, that’s right. And it was hot. Penny Bittone makes a nice Thompson, he’s got all the freaked-outness you’d want but with a post-mortem softness that speaks to what loving life is all about. Eric Alba as the wolf is a big furry unkempt libido with a grin that melts your undies. Elizabeth Spano’s Little Red Riding Hood is one-dimensional until she wants to be deep, and she balances it well. Director Elyzabeth Gorman keeps it simple, which is what it wants, and by all means directors, give a play what it wants.
The Comedy of Errors
DUMBO Books of Brooklyn
This afternoon the sun came out and the rains held off, and we got the fun of seeing this season’s Shakespeare at the Pagoda in Prospect Park, with the talented EBE Ensemble presenting another terrifically entertaining show, a cleverly staged, laugh-filled production of The Comedy of Errors, directed by Elyzabeth Gorman.
Emotionally charged, suspenseful, and tackling big issues, its style and structure are well suited to the subject. Indeed, Niederman sets the tone with a lengthy story by the excitable Albert (Gregory Lay) about an inspiring performance he attended of a play by Clifford Odets. Yet at first we think we’re hearing about a union meeting; only as Albert’s description unfolds do we realize he’s been under the spell of the theater. This effect has a magic of its own.
Act I frolics along like a roller coaster. Despite the serious subject matter, it’s very funny. Lay is especially brilliant as Albert – brash, loud, so excitable he literally collapses. His volatility gives a few scares to the Waitress, a relatively small but key role played by Anna Gutto, who was good in the recent Sa Ka La and shows enormous depth here, speaking only in French while trying to communicate with three scruffy and unpredictable Americans who don’t speak a word of it. Act II shows us the edgy Albert and the vulnerable Carl on their own. Here the role of Carl expands into the play’s second really meaty one. He’s a Hungarian immigrant struggling mightily between his socialist ideals and his simple desire for a family and a decent life in his adopted United States. The stranger, Marion Welch (an effective Eric Rice) with his influence on Carl becomes the engine of the plot. As the new day dawns, will Carl join his friends as they head off, very likely to their deaths on a battlefield in a strange land?