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|A CurtainUp Review
Faith, Hope & Charity
By Brad Bradley
The production opens with the seemingly exhausted women sleeping atop a realistic raft floating in the ocean as supported by inner tubes, with little aboard but a few harnessed crates, a pole with a modest sail, and a barrel. Atmospheric music sets a realistic tone, and crescendos into a storm. Faith (Ms. Delgado) speaks the first line, "I don’t think this is real!" Her words presage the script’s actual approach to drama, which quickly loses the misleading realism of the extended tableau that greets the entering audience. Once I realized that realism had been dispensed with, I found myself wondering why the creakiness of the raft boards hadn’t been eliminated as well, for that persistent sound weakened both the focus and fantasy of the play.
Unfortunately, the play’s weaknesses go deeper, for much of the dialogue of these women who presumably are trying to escape Cuba falls flat. Worse, the director has all three racially symbolic women, as well as the actress playing the fantasy goddess, shout far too many of their lines. As a result, whatever poetic quality or meaning exists in the script gets lost in tiresome arguments among people who can’t get along.
At one point I had hopes that the goddess figure (alluringly played by Mizan Nunes) was paralleling the challenging specter-like host of Sartre’s trio of banished souls in No Exit. But writer Pedro’s characters don’t seem to learn anything, to even meaningfully respond to their trials and the play fails whether seen as a fantasy or as a conventional drama of conflict.
Perhaps the most resonant character for local audiences is Hope, played by Maria Cellario. While the script tells us Hope is "a sensitive, thoughtful atheist", she nevertheless comes across as a blasé New Yorker. Dana Manno as Charity is primarily memorable for her hysteria. Director Ferra, his accomplished credentials notwithstanding, seems to have given up on this play in rehearsal.
My dissatisfaction with the production was underscored by the venue’s total lack of ventilation, leaving me relieved that a companion had begged off with an erratic cough. Surely the ailment would have worsened at INTAR 53.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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