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 20, 2005


Presented by The Lady Cavalier Theatre Company, a Manhattan based, not-for-profit organization now in its fifth season, THE LADY CAVALIERS: SIGNATURE STORIES is a wild collection of ass kicking, no-holds-barred vignettes examining history’s female archetypes and the women warriors fighting to break them. Cleverly directed by Peter Hilton, this estrogen heavy production is part Uma Thurman, part Susan B. Anthony, all flash, and all brain. Through a mutiny of jabs, kicks, and lunges, SIGNATURE STORIES finds a rare, winning combination which dazzles and educates its audience in equal shares.

Hilton, who also doubles as playwright (then triples as actor), constructs the show’s short stories around theatrical combat, a staple of LCTC and a lost form of theatre arts picking up steam once again in universities and theatrical programs around the nation. Jujitsu, karate, and (quite oddly) ballet embellish the female-friendly themes fittingly. And, although it may seem peculiar and somewhat forced to construct a show around choreographed fighting sequences, Hilton’s succeeds magnificently. Since it has been the goal of LCTC from their inception to educate and challenge stereotypes of the “weaker sex,” the audience, by way of Hilton’s brainy script and the company’s wholehearted performances, understands the physicality of the show is a devise representative of the female struggle.

There are whips, chains, swords, and spears—a litany of medieval weapons bound to keep anyone entertained (including boyfriends). However, SIGNATURE STORIES isn’t simply about snap kicks and roundhouses.

Seen most clearly in “Contestant 325” (performed with tear-jerking excellence by Ricki G. Ravitts), a short story about an international fencer during the 1936 Olympics incorporating little to no blocking, the beating heart of this unique collection makes itself known. More so than the crane kicks, judo flips, or jousts, the controlled tenderness of each piece, in my opinion, is what will be remembered. THE LADY CALAVIERS: SIGNATURE STORIES is a muscular, yet feminine show; a theatre experience that will leave you wanting more long after the curtain has dropped.

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