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.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Coronado" by Hannah Snyder-Beck

From the award-winning author of “Mystic River” comes an insightful new play about love, murder and the uncanny connections between six disparate characters. Dennis Lehane’s “Coronado” is complex, well written and darkly comic.

The play opens with Gina and Will, two young lovers who are desperate to be together. In her opening moments, Rebecca Miller renders an interesting portrait of Gina. As the production progresses, however, Miller’s performance becomes disconnected; rather than playing the truth of the moment, Miller relies instead on hysteria and generalized choices to pull her through. At times, she is difficult to hear, adding to her distracting performance. Lance Rubin as Will is also difficult to hear, particularly during his quieter moments. Rubin has clearly done his homework for the role, but he works too hard to prove it. Punching lines and relying on mannerisms throughout, he fails to bring depth to his role. Likewise, Kathleen Wallace as the Patient pushes too much and lives in the moment too little; a clear indication is that she frequently stumbles over lines.

Dan Patrick Brady delivers a stellar performance as Gina’s seedy husband Hal. Brady brings charm and charisma to his work, making it difficult to watch anyone else when he is on stage. Jason Macdonald has a smooth and captivating vocal quality that enhances his polished portrayal of the Doctor. The Lehane family is clearly a talented clan; Dennis’ brother, Gerry joins the cast as Bobby’s father, delivering a seamless and vivacious performance. As the waitress, Elizabeth Horn gives a well-rounded portrayal; given that her role is the smallest in the play and that she has no more than 10 lines, Ms. Horn deserves kudos for her work.

The set, executed by director David Epstein and Ed McNamee, is unencumbered and makes good use out of the theater’s small space. Epstein’s directing is clean, sensible and creative, and the lighting design by Driscoll A. Otto is spot on.

Dennis Lehane clearly delivers with “Coronado”; its jigsaw structure creates mounting suspense, and Lehane’s poignant mix of tragedy and perverse humor serve the actors well. The production features some first-rate performances and dark twists that should not be missed.

Presented by Invisible City Theatre Company, at The Manhattan Theatre Source
November 30-December 17

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