Search This Blog

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bo-Nita @ PCS

I didn't read anything about "Bo-Nita" prior to seeing it on Friday. The logo of the production is an innocuous cereal bowl, which gives no hint at all to the edginess of the show. It is no wonder that I was caught off guard. Bo-Nita speaks with such nonchalance about the horrific things visited upon her in her short thirteen years that it takes some precious time to process what she has said.  More than once I was knocked mentally off-balance, and briefly lost track of the narrative. It gives me great pleasure to warn of disturbing subject matter, because it is to my taste in drama. But, I must reiterate again that this is a sucker-punch of a show. Somehow it manages to mix streaks of dark humor in, and sometimes it works, other times it just increases the feeling of dread. The show is a lean 85 minutes, and if you think that you can take it, you will be glad you saw it. I almost said, "I think you will enjoy it", but I don't think "enjoy" is the word to use here.

I must also take a moment to thank PCS staff for letting me stay warm during transportation difficulties. It was much appreciated.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

"The Monster-Builder" @ Artist's Rep.

Adjectives like "reptilian" and "serpentine" are over-used to describe slimy and unpleasant characters. Watch Michael Eilich's otherworldly performance as architect Gregor Zebrowski  in Amy Freed's "The Monster-Builder" and I dare you to tell me any other description would do the character justice. Especially in the scene where he interacts with the eel he's about to dine upon. Elich's all-in performance is worth the price of admission by itself.

There are even more pleasures to be had: the askew set by Tom Buderwitz, the dark and sly humor of the script. I must note that the script sometimes talks past its audience, the rapid-fire name-dropping can pull you out of the action for a bit. (The playbill does contain a glossary, but it's buried on the last page before the Cast List, which undercuts its usefulness.)

I can't shake the feeling that I am short-changing Mr. Erlich's performance, here's one more attempt to capture its brilliance: He is as imposing as the structures he creates.