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A CurtainUp Review
The Silent Concerto
By Julia Furay
Naldo's failed attempts at playwrighting frame the story of this new play from Packawallop Productions in which three friends — Naldo, Mallory (Susan Louise O'Connor) and Benny (Julian Stetkevych)— try to overcome a whole bunch of false starts in life. These false starts cover career, love or friendship. Though the blocked playwright conceit is a clever and appropriate framework for the story.but it's a dangerous structure since it makes the play inherently repetitive. Scene One. Scene One. Scene One.
For the most part, the repetition overpowers the story, leaving us with lots of poetic language but not much dramatic effect. As the play begins Naldo and Mallory are best friends and roommates, both starry-eyed and ambitious college graduates. Maldo is an actress just cast in The Seagull and Naldo is going to write a play for her. They continually quote lines from Chekhov' to each other and sound l as if they're characters in The Seagull. With the nonstop Chekhovian references, it's probably a good idea to be familiar with The Seagull to appreciate The Silent Concerto. The third character is Naldo's old flame Benny, a hard drinking, promiscuous young man who on a whim has decided to move to New York, become an actor and mooch off Naldo and Mallory.
Ten years pass during which we watch these three become disillusioned, take more medication (be it prescribed or alcoholic), grow apart, and get lonelier. Unfortunately these characters aren't quite compelling enough for us to put with with ten years of their refusals to grow up. And the script doesn't live up to its occasional promise: the jokey climactic scene was a real cop-out, given the characters' problems.
While O'Connor is winning and charmingly neurotic as Mallory, Stetkevych and Hirschfeld as the two ex-lovers: both characters seem a mite too overdone to be convincing. Adding to the negatives is Scott Ebersold's fairly static direction. He relies a little too heavily on the device of having his actors stand near a ghost light and deliver their lines directly to the audience.
On the plus side, we do enjoy flashes of vitality. Wendy Seyb's choreography makes a goofy, drunken lipsync dance into a hilarious and theatrical salute to Tori Amos. Best of all are Morales's evocative, poetic monologues. They are the most rewarding aspects of his play and would make the script's weaknesses seem irrelevant if we didn't have to sit through quite so much repetition.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide