According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Apparition" by Jess Lacher

The Dark Morton is coming. What is the Dark Morton, and from where does it come? No matter-- it is coming, and it is just one of the inexplicable terrors in Ann Washburn’s fine new play, aptly billed as an “uneasy play of the underknown.”

An ensemble of five, dressed in some combination of Gothic horror and Urban Outfitters, keeps Washburn’s text swirling and teasing. The restrained presentation (straight lines, little movement, near-total darkness) suits the writing, letting it play spooky without being scary, creeped out in the moment between hearing a twig snap behind you and turning to see that nothing is there. Two monologues and a few vignettes provide the whispers of narrative which keep the play from being swallowed up by vague and unnamed dread-- Maria Dizza stands out as a woman whose new apartment comes with a whispering maniac.

The lighting design is all shafts and shadows, flashlight-lit and changing so slowly it often feels like eyes adjusting to darkness. Director Les Waters has created a dark little space in which to spend eighty minutes, and everything feels intimate—sometimes, a little more intimate than you would like.

Usually, when the lights dim and the ghost stories begin, audiences know to cover their eyes and wait for the gasp of a big fright: the knife in the shower curtain, the hand on the shoulder. When Apparition pulls us in with grim and haunted tones, there is nothing to shut your eyes against, because the theater is already pitch black. There is no cathartic scare, just an uneasy release into the world—so you leave looking over your shoulder, waiting for something to jump out of the closet.

Apparition, at the Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th Street between A and B
Tickets: $35-$50
Through January 7

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