"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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