In its 10th outing, Vital Signs, New Works Festival, running through December 18th at The McGinn/Cazale Theatre, presented a strong collection of five one acts in the first of three series.
The evening started off with Sorrento, a look at a family’s deliberation on whether or not to keep their comatose mother on life support, written by Lucile Lichtblau and directed by Cynthia Thomas. Wendy Scharfman, plays the mother, Cecily, a former actress, guiding the audience through the piece recalling past trysts, including one particular rendez-vous in Sorrento.
Passed Hordes, written by Mark Harvey Levine and directed by Brad Caswell followed a pair of loners played by Mary Catherine Donnelly and Michael Ruby at a holiday party who are eventually stripped of their insecurities and find love. Rebecka Ray and Alyssa Van Gorder provide wacky comic relief as waiters.
The strongest piece of the evening, Relationtrip, by Sharyn Rothstein confronts the nature of relationships, following a woman, her husband, her sister, and a gentleman they meet while on a train on the way to a friend’s wedding. Catherine Ward provides taught direction, and each of the four actors delivers humorous and heartfelt performances. Particularly strong are William Jackson Harper and Zakiyah Alexander as the married couple, Carrie and Eric.
Norman! by D.T. Arcieri and directed by Alexis Williams follows the title character, played wonderfully by Chris Stack, who is forced to confront his past when he sees an abandoned dog on the side of the road. Costars, Holly Lynn Ellis and Adam Wald each play multiple roles, to help bring this funny and thought-provoking story to life.
The final play, All in the Miming, is an uproarious romp by Qui Nguyen. Alexandra Hastings directs this comedy about a sadistic mime, played by the hilarious David Dean Hastings. Marius Hanford choreographed a series of impressive fights for Adam Alexander and Nicole Callender, a pair of pedestrians who take it upon themselves to fight back.
Vital Theatre Company (at McGinn/Cazale Theare)
2162 Broadway, 4th Floor
Tickets: $16.00, $10.00 (Students, with valid ID)
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday, 7:00pm
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.