Reviewed by Sandra Ross
August 16, 2002

There's not an ounce of fat on writer-director Robert McCaskill and writer-performer Alex Lyras' tightly structured one-person show. This is a meaty, hard-muscled performance — consisting of five monologues rendered by the appealing Lyras, loosely based on Homer's Odyssey — detailing the intersection of several lives one evening in New York during a blizzard.

The journey begins with Jonathan, a teacher who proffers Ecstasy cooked up in a high school science lab. (Joel Daavid's lighting and set design are used to great effect during the drug-trip sequence.) A monologue by a loudmouthed plumbing contractor fresh from a gambling binge in Atlantic City explores the rituals of casino life, while a bit by a laid-off Web designer seesaws between physical comedy and barely repressed violence. Manny, a tough-talking lawyer, provides the most menacing segment; his story is propelled by the mugging of a ticket scalper. The tales converge in the final monologue, delivered by a man rendered mute by the events of September 11.

Lyras and McCaskill have created a dreamscape peppered with literary allusions, but one that wisely doesn't adhere too strictly to Odysseus' expedition.

New Avenue Theatre Project at the Lillian Theater, 1076 North Lillian Way, Hollywood.; Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 4. (323) 860-6691.
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