Friday, November 2, 2007

Societal Decay Disarms in The Chaos Theories

In physics, chaos theory explains the underlying order and elegance in apparently random data, illuminating that the slightest act can ripple out wildly to global impact. In the recent production of Alexander Dinelaris' charged tragi-comedy The Chaos Theories, this idea is not only relevant in weather patterns and cosmic black holes, but also in the way the human spirit grapples with the desire for deep rooted connection in an age of post-9/11 fear.

In the hands of playwright-in-hyperdrive Dinelaris, who directed with Stewart M. Schulman, this play treats and teases with layer upon lush layer of vivid and relentless dialogue, masterfully handled by a team of eight actors playing 21 diverse characters. Each archetypal New Yorker is caught in their own personal chaos: A driven, trash-talking stockbroker pummels her client to humorous effect. An dotty, heartfelt homeless woman lives in remember-when land. A father berates his daughters beau, a senator's wife verbally castrates a smarmy lobbyist, a charming waiter serves acidic sarcasm on a platter. But if everyone would just put their cellphones and career drives aside for a split second, they'd discover they are all connected in the most human of ways - through loneliness, love, fear and loss.

To sometimes hysterical, often shocking effect, Dinelaris shows that underneath today's techno chatter there is a humanity striving to be released. In a world where the random is revered, the message of The Chaos Theories comes through crystal clear. Playing until Nov. 17 at the McGinn/Cazale Theater, 2162 Broadway (near W. 76th St.)

Bonus: There was an inspiring audience talkback with playwright Alexander Dinelaris after the performance, where he enthusiastically and refreshingly supported fellow writers and artists. Dinelaris' play Still Life is slated for Broadway in early 2008, and he is working on writing the screenplay for Alejandro González Iñárritu's (Babel, 21 Grams) next film.

Double Bonus: The courage of Dinelaris to have a play with a large cast, and the talented actors who fulfilled his vision. Check out Richard Bekins, Max Darwin, Alison Fraser, Todd Gearhart, Ted Koch, Amanda Mantovani, Darcie Siciliano and Maryann Towne in anything they do!

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