Scarsdale Inquirer

"Unequalibrium Balances Writing and Acting"
By Debra Banerjee

Alexander Lyras new one man show "Unequalibrium" is a contemporary take on Homer's "Odyssey". The play's four characters are searching for home in its various forms, and in that search they are seeking balance and clarity in their lives. And like Odysseus, the encounter many obstacles, their own Sirens and Circes, along the way. In the end, the four characters intersect in an explosive chance encounter during a blinding snowstorm in Manhattan.

Lyras' work as an actor and writer are symbiotic in this piece. In the style of Eric Bogosian meets Spalding Grey, Unequalibrium is a showcase for his talent and his ear for the real deal.

Jonathan is ambivalent about going on sabbatical and relates how a long-ago hallucinogenic trip with girlfriend Penelope (also the name of Odysseus wife) changed the course of his life. Theo, Greek for God, is a plumber trying to get back home after winning big in Atlantic City. Isaac, an unemployed web master, is trying to connect with his girlfriend Cassandra (in Greek mythology, Cassandra's beauty was fatal to men). Manny, a lowlife defense attorney, in the course of an evening gives new meaning to the term criminal lawyer.

In the monologues, Lyras the storyteller and Lyras the Actor draw you into the worlds of his characters. His characters could have been one-dimensional caricatures, but through Lyras' words and emotion, they are well defined. Lyras, with his dark good looks, is a pleasure to watch on stage. But along with his good looks, he has the quality of the Everyman, and the vulnerability that makes his characters sympathetic and appealing.

Lyras graduated from Scarsdale High in 1988, but focused on sports rather than drama. He studied philosophy and classics at Bucknell and Columbia universities. An epiphany in 1992 led him to leave law school and forgo a career as a lawyer. At an improvisation class he met Robert McCaskill, who recognized his talent and encouraged him to get involved in acting and writing.

Hie wrote two of his plays in Greece, where he returns for inspiration, especially to his home island of Chios, birthplace of Homer. Lyras feels the connection of his ancient heritage, the place where theater orignated. "These human themes have remained the same through the centuries; love, temptation, honor." Lyras said, "There isn't a movie made today that doesn't follow an ancient theme."

Lyras is working on a screenplay version of Unequalibrium. He feels the narrative of the work lends itself to a feature film. Lyras is also working on another solo show to be produced six months to a year down the road.

Unequalibrium is produced by New Avenue Theatre, the play runs through March 11th at the Gene Frankel theater. Call 212-462-3107 for tickets.
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