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A CurtainUp Review
A solo show is still beholden to the same standards as any other piece of theater; one still craves a point of view, or some relevant purpose to the content. In Manigma Aronov portrays a half-dozen characters whose connection to each other are unclear until the very end — and even then, the connection seems vague.
According to press materials, these are all variations on Aronov's self — a half-dozen alter-egos, if you will. One by one, these personalities step into the limelight.
We watch Aronov step onstage to energetic music, and as the lights pulse he makes a handful of physical changes: his posture, an article of clothing, perhaps even his facial expression. First up is a drag queen, monologue-ing before her act begins, meanwhile revealing her abusive past. We also meet an Eastern European immigrant with traditional sensibilities and a soft heart; the possibly autistic avid penny collector; a painfully nerdy man immersed in the teachings of a self-help guru; and others. Michael Aronov certainly inhabits each of these characters fully, and he's a solid performer. But despite the differences in these personas, they feel stereotypical and tend to blend together. Aronov's alter egos feel more like acting class exercises than nuanced, crafted characters we can learn from.
Director David Travis keeps the play moving (Aronov literally travels slowly from one side of the stage to the other as he progresses through these people), but without a clear higher meaning to the writing, there is only so much Travis and his creative team can extrapolate. One can't really make a mountain out of a molehill.