Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Big Dreams & Bigger Hair in Savage in Limbo

At the start of The Process Group's recent production of John Patrick Shanley's Savage in Limbo, I knew I was in for an 80's nostalgic treat when Denise Savage (played with quirky glee by Rebecca Whitehurst) entered the scene by teasing her hair into a blond birdsnest of permed glory. Playing from Oct. 18-Nov. 4 at the beautiful DUO Theater at 62 East 4th St., the play offers an often hilarious and sadly authentic look at the aimless, drunken dreams of five Bronx barflies.

A string of deliciously crafted monologues served on a Brandy Alexander stained platter, Shanley's play is a frozen-in-time fest of belly-button gazing. Ultimately an actor showcase, the cast ably rises to the script's significant demands, bringing humor and humanity to their working class characters. Denise Savage is a 32 year old, bored-to-tears virgin, and Whitehurst's idiosyncratic presentation makes this remarkable fact believable. The luscious Linda Rotunda, played with ballsy aplomb by Jenny Grace, laments the life of a va va voom woman on the verge. And the not-so-cute couple of drunken, failed nun April White (Brooke Delaney) and smitten, uber-enabler bartender Murk (Henry Zebrowski) gives us booze-fueled moments of compassion. The action heats up with the arrival of Linda's beau Tony Aronica (Robert Bray), a leather clad hottie-pants on a misguided search for life's meaning.

Despair over dreams lost and deferred is always dangerous theatrical territory, but Bryan Close's direction wisely lifts humor to the fore. Despite the (perhaps too young and pretty) cast's occasional lapses from realism into trying-too-hard delivery, Savage in Limbo offers an enjoyable, I-remember-when night of theater. Tickets are available at SmartTix.

Bonus: Getting to experience The DUO Theater and its beautiful interior, and chatting with associate artistic director and NYC Downtown Short Film Festival director Luke Valerio. The DUO Theater, under the artistic direction of Michelangelo Alasa, is dedicated to developing and producing works by Latino playwrights as well as employing Latino directors, actors and designers.

1 comment:

Rick W. said...

Your blog continues to be a great way to prepare for a weekend in NYC. Love your reviews. The city is as wonderful as it has ever been and this comes out in your coverage. Keep up the great work.