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.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

"In The Continuum" by Hannah Snyder-Beck

"Affecting, intelligent, and thought provoking, “In The Continuum” is a poignant new look at the HIV/AIDS a word, flawless."

“In The Continuum,” written and performed by the fiercely talented Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter, tells the stories of Abigail, a married member of Zimbabwe’s middle class, and Nia, a 19-year-old struggling to survive in the ghetto of Los Angeles. Abigail and Nia are worlds apart, yet these women are connected by a dark secret they both share: they are both pregnant and H.I.V. positive. Although Abigail and Nia’s stories are told separately throughout the course of the play, their respective experiences of isolation, abandonment and betrayal are poignantly paralleled.

Ms. Gurira and Ms. Salter are emotional powerhouses, both taking on several characters throughout. Morphing from one character to the next, these actresses really strut their stuff. Abigail; a callous witch doctor; a judgmental nurse; Abigail’s highfalutin, ex-classmate; and a jaded prostitute are among the personages Ms. Gurira expertly portrays. For her part, Ms.Salter adroitly plays Nia; an uptight, nerdish parole officer; and Nia’s hard edged, unempathic mother, to name a few. The actresses have taken care to infuse their work with specificity, making each character physically, vocally and emotionally distinct.

Robert O’Hara’s talent for directing is clear: his direction is seamless. O’Hara’s considerable skill is evident in the fact that his presence is hardly felt; the action on stage flows from one moment to the next naturally, and effortlessly. The minimal props and costumes, designed by Jay Duckworth and Sarah Hillard, help the actresses to perform unencumbered, while forcing Ms. Gurira and Ms. Salter to rely on their imaginations to create their respective environments. Affecting, intelligent, and thought provoking, “In The Continuum” is a poignant new look at the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “In The Continuum” is, in a word, flawless.