Back in the U.S.S.R.

A play shines darkness on Soviet-era families: Can One Live This Way?

“Can One Live This Way?” a play in the 2014 Midwinter Madness Festival at Roy Arias Studios, is a gritty, and bleak view of the life of a Soviet-era family. From beginning to end, author Natalya Churlyaeva does not ever lead us to believe this story will resolve nicely.

Directed with a straight-forward, hide-nothing approach by Ian Ogden, we meet and never like any of the characters in the story. Since the story is light on plot, one needs to root for a character, and have more focus on character development. But unfortunately the play does not allow enough time for this to occur, thus it is difficult to stay with the situation: in a way, perhaps this too is part of the play’s commentary on Soviet-era life.

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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

Alien Adventure: In Space… They Can Hear You Laugh!

Alien Adventure: So Funtastic All Sci Fi Fans Should Beam Down to See this

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Writer/Director Jon Freda must have had a blast revisiting classic sci-fi TV shows and movies when creating “Alien Adventure-The Adventure” a hilarious farce with some humorous musical interludes, now playing in the 2014 Midwinter Madness Festival at Roy Arias Studios: Stage II on 43rd St.

I’m actually having a difficult time remembering where the show began and ended because it made me laugh so much. The script is full of witty word play, and ALL the performers seemed to enjoy every moment…and so did the audience. Full disclosure, I am a sci-fi fan, especially of classic Star Trek which is loosely the framework from which the play works.

Casting is terrific. All the performers took on their roles with energy, I’m talking dilithium crystal-powered energy that never, and I mean never ended. And their comedic timing seemed effortless, particularly funny for me were Elsa Scott as Mentose, and Philip E. Ramsey as Hazy.

I would note that some musical numbers worked better than others simply because, unfortunately, the words were not clear or the music was a bit too loud. But, overall, with its zany staging, the atmosphere on this planet will definitely support laughs. Energize!

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

Denials: Do you know where your children are?

Denials: a play to remind us 21st century teenagers still need support

Being a teenager is tough. Being a teenage boy has particular challenges. Now, place that teenage boy in a broken home with an unsympathetic, violent father and that’s where Denials, a play in the 2014 Midwinter Madness Festival at Roy Arias Studios: Stage II festival, begins.

Author Rudy Gray does not leave out any of the myriad of serious points that we need to consider in order to keep the issue of male teenage self-destruction/destruction in the spotlight. The fact that the play has nines scenes reinforces the complexity of the issue, and the actors, stage crew and lighting crew should get kudos for swift, spot-on scene changes. The actors pull no punches throughout, of particular note is Robert Bryson who plays the angry father.

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Unfortunately, with so much detail, and so much to be explained, the play does not allow us enough time to feel for the characters, and I was left wanting more intimate moments with the characters, and less exposition.

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