PICK OF THE WEEK!
August 21, 2002
Reviewed By Wenzel Jones
Not to slight the performer, but how many times do you leave a one-man show
humming the lights and set? The piece takes place over the course of one
very snowy evening in Manhattan, and Joel Daavid captures the grittiness of
the urban milieu (set) as well as the wonder and enchantment of a long,
city-stopping snowfall (lights). The sound contributions of composer Ken
Rich are so richly realized that the aural atmosphere is every bit as
theatrically magical. The drug-enhanced portions of the show are especially
This is not to imply that the technical aspects overwhelm the performer.
Alex Lyras, who co-wrote the script with director Robert McCaskill, is not
the sort of actor to play second fiddle to some nice flats and effective
Lyras portrays five characters who, on the same night, lead separate lives
that just happen to intersect. Each is marvelously distinct, yet none is so
far out of the performer's range that the audience becomes aware that a
particular character is there as a big, challenging, show-offy stretch.
Thus, to cover both ends of the spectrum, both Manny, the lawyer with the
atrophied sense of ethics, and Isaac, the appealingly boneheaded young man
who can't talk to his girlfriend on the phone for more than five minutes
without saying something incredibly stupid, are equally real despite that
they have nothing in common but a similar build.
McCaskill also blocks each distinctively: Manny barely moves as he lets his
appalling tale unreel, while Isaac is a brilliant piece of physical comedy
as he keeps changing clothes, an act that inevitably involves the phone cord
ending up where it shouldn't.
Other characters involved are a fireman trying to get through to an
uncommunicative roommate, a plumber who thinks he has the blackjack tables
in Atlantic City beat, and a philosophical sort who, at one point, leads you
down the merry pathway of a psilocybin trip in the woods.
The passage from character to character is achieved by a somewhat lengthy
onstage change of costume executed in the shadows, an action that gives the
transitions a mild erotic charge that keeps interest from flagging. The
uncredited costumes, it should be mentioned, are as concise as the show's
Coming in at just over an hour, it's a compact production that leaves a
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