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, January 29, 2006

Review: The End of Reality by Jonathan Cristaldi

Richard Maxwell's latest spectacle is so properly composed in its simplicity that the banal tonality of discourse in "The End of Reality" takes a back seat to the development of what is a wholly flawed "reality." This is not to say that Maxwell's penchant for exploring the mundane qualities of tone becomes irreverent, rather, it is done so well that the absurdity of it only compliments the narrative and never distracts from story.

Set in a "'lobby-citadel'…where guards attempt to secure a vulnerable area against unidentified intruders," the situation is hardly questionable, as the presence of uniformed individuals at checkpoints has become something most people are accustomed to nowadays. At least it's second nature in New York City – just last week heading into the subway I was asked to display the contents of my bag. (Perhaps there was something sinister in the Windsor of my knotted tie). And the exchange was routine: I said, "Sure," he said, "Got some books?" I said, "Yup," and he said, "Thanks." This kind of reality we are learning to deal with – under a constant watchful eye – is in Maxwell's world not ending, as the title might suggest, but beginning.

Conflict comes to the playing space in the form of an intruder who attacks the guards. There is hardly any revealing dialogue that would lend some insight as to why this intruder attacks. Maxwell's characters (1,2,3,4, and 5) suffer from nostalgia for the past and an inability to deal with the immediate present. The metaphysical buffer between what was, and what is now, is disrupted by this intruder who essentially tips the scales at their tipping points. Fights break out in overtly aware choreography, which comically parodies what one might expect from yet another Tarantino film – blood included.

Maxwell artfully presents a breakdown of language, character, and even emotional attachments to love and principles. Where the play lacks in the kind of anticipatory plot structure plays typically beg for, it opens up a barrage of potential questions and leaves in even more room for answers. “The End of Reality” is not a show you should miss.

Final performances:
January 26 – 29, 8pm.
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street

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