"Unequalibrium" Features It's Author in Four-Character Role Whereas "Holy Picture" at Roundabout is All Bacon, All the Time.

NOTE to non-New Yorkers: Chelsea Clinton is the name of an area in the city from the twenties to the forties on the west side of Manhattan.

During any given season, the intrepid theatregoer is usually subjected to several one person plays. They are, after all, less expensive to produce than say, a two person play and that counts for something as production costs continue to skyrocket.

The best of these sort of events somehow finds dramatic action in what are basically narrated stories — the least remain, stubbornly, just stories.

An example of the former, Alex Lyras' "Unequalibrium" at the Gene Frankel Theater, the latter, Heather McDonald's "An Almost Holy Picture", produced by the Roundabout at its American Airlines Theater. Both feature compelling performances: Lyras in his own work, Kevin Bacon in McDonald's — but for me, the downtown show featuring non-star Lyras, was much more interesting, because it was much more theatrical.

"Unequalibrium" (co-written and directed by Robert McCaskill) features it's co-author as four different men. We meet each in successive monologues that last about 20 minutes each. In the end, the lives intersect on a cold winter's night in a way which will surprise you and which you will find quite moving. Lyras is a wonderful actor, and a wonderful writer — wearing both hats, he manages to capture the pulsing heart beat of contemporary urban fear and despair.

"An Almost Holy Picture" also features a fine actor giving a fine performance, but it's two hours of storytelling. Whereas Lyras and McCaskill's monologues are, in actual fact, scenes between speaker and a very much onstage (though unseen) character, McDonald's character, a former preacher, spends two hours telling us how he found, then lost his faith in God. The structure is inherently contrived and artificial. Why is he telling us this? Bacon is an excellent narrator, but still, you're awfully glad when it's over.

I started my week with an exciting evening in the theatre, "Unequalibrium".
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