You’ll like “Virgins Like Drake Too”

VIRGIN BUTLER

Reviewed by Christopher Sirota

Virgins Like Drake Too: Bubbly and Fun Dating…angst

Actors Uzunma Udeh and Rebecca Clark had great chemistry on stage which was definitely enjoyed by the audience in Virgins Like Drake Too, also produced & written by Ms. Udeh as part of the 2014 Midwinter Madness Festival at Roy Arias Studios: Stage II on 43rd St. Laughs and giggles are abundant throughout this story of the difficulties of young romance.

Light on plot, but full of energy, the characters entertained the audience from beginning to end with their romantic thoughts, insights, frustrations, and embarrassing moments that, from the noticeable head nodding in the audience, obviously were universally shared to a certain degree.

I enjoyed the characters when they interacted with each other, and when they were commenting directly to the audience, a choice that does not always work in theatre. Overall it was enjoyable, but I would have liked a bit more tension between the characters so that we could have had a stronger “Aw, what great friends” moment.

Christopher Sirota writes for OuterStage and DramaQueens on a regular basis. He is also a cinematographer with one film receiving international distribution, another in post-production, and a third readying for pre-production.
Photo by Jon M. Smith/WrightGroupNY

Experiencing the deep “Sea Cloud Park”

Sea Cloud Park
See Brilliant Casting
Performances shine through angst-filled story
reviewed by Christopher Sirota

Wonderful acting pulls the tension from the opening moments of “Sea Cloud Park” in the Midwinter Madness Festival which started this week at Roy Arias Studios: Stage II on 43rd St. Actors Jason E. Kelley, Marty Papazian & Kelen Coleman, bring energy to characters that face despair in this play produced, written & directed by Cameron Fife.

The despair in the backstory is not one that any parent would want to experience in life, but the play focuses mostly on the aftermath burdening one father, and the support provided by the others. Although the play itself is a relatively believable slice of life, the gem of this performance is the casting of Kelley and Papazian: their chemistry, and give and take on the stage is fantastic. You want to hear more; you could imagine them in a new Netflix binge-series about two friends struggling in the world. Even the cadence and tone of their different voices fit so well together, you just want to hear more. Fife crafted their friendship with an unspoken caring between them, which is unexpected and welcomed.

Sea Cloud 2

Overall I enjoyed entering this world to meet these characters, despite not completely accepting some of the plot. Of note, the artistic decision for the soundscape at the beginning worked to brilliant and chilling effect. Final performance will be 2/15 @ 5:15 p.m.

Christopher Sirota writes for OuterStage and DramaQueens on a regular basis. He is also a cinematographer with one film receiving international distribution, another in post-production, and a third readying for pre-production.
Photo by A.G. Liebowitz/WrightGroupNY

Lizzie Borden + Midwinter Madness = Great Night in the Theatre

A macabre tour de force: “Lizzie Borden’s Party” Brilliantly never goes for the hatchet
reviewed by Christopher Sirota

“Don’t ‘go’ for the laugh” is often told to actors so that they remember to let the audience ‘go’ for it. In a similar way, the star and author of “Lizzie Borden’s Party,” Marjorie Conn, cleverly, does not go for… the hatchet. Yes, the hatchet that some still believe Lizzie Borden wielded in this gruesome murder mystery marvelously performed solo by Ms. Conn in the Midwinter Madness Festival which started this week at Roy Arias Studios: Stage II on 43rd St.

LizzieB2

From the very first words, the play will grab your attention. The words are macabre and yet tied together in such a melodious way that you welcome every last detail, no matter how menacing. Ms. Conn performs the title character respecting this melody of text, letting it sort of lift her eyebrows, twitch her gaze, launch her arms into the air and push her, sometimes reluctantly, through a gory past her character Lizzie may not want to relive. What an insanely brilliant and subtle acting choice! Thus, the author and actor, despite such gruesome story content to work with, choose not to go for the hatchet: they choose instead to let our more horror-filled imagination do “the hacking”, making us squirm even more gleefully.

Needless to say, I was too entranced by her performance and engrossed in the story to be aware of these artistic decisions during the show. Her powerfully nonchalant embodiment of the Lizzie Borden character was performed with a passion that should not be missed. The difference between experiencing live this bravada performance and watching a movie, TV or something streaming on the web was palpable and stunning. This single bare-bones performance will explain to you viscerally why everyone should not forget to go to live theater.

I must also mention that the direction by John Buckingham was spot on, understated and pithy. Neither he nor the author go for the hatchet, in fact, “spoiler alert” I don’t recall her ever making…a violent gesture. Enjoy! There are two more performances, Thursday Feb 13th and Saturday Feb 15 2014.

Christopher Sirota writes for OuterStage and DramaQueens on a regular basis. He is also a cinematographer with one film receiving international distribution, another in post-production, and a third readying for pre-production.
Photo by A.G. Liebowitz/WrightGroupNY