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.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I Have Loved Strangers
Reviewed by: Nicholas Linnehan
Clubbed Thumb presents I Have Loved Strangers, by Anne Washburn, as part of its Summerworks Festival. The play, directed by Johanna Mckeon, delves into issues of good versus evil and morality. Two prophets, played by T. Ryder Smith and James Stanley, foretell very different stories of things to come. One tells of destruction, while the other one offers hope and triumph. This leaves the audience pondering who the true prophet is, or perhaps they both share truth. The actors in these roles fill their characters with passion and honesty so well that it is hard to decide who is prophetic and who is crazy.

Laura Flanagan (Emily) adds to a strong ensemble by delivering a profound performance as the complex terrorist trying to fight the resistance. She also brings much-needed humor into this intensely serious play. Equally compelling is Jennifer Ruby Smith (Ruthie) who plays the wife of one of "prophets". Her character struggles with her ability to trust in her husband’s gift. She delivers well with her ability to show the inner struggle of the woman. Both these women fill their characters with honesty and vibrant energy that engages the audience.

While this play does not offer any definitive answers to the questions it raises (how could it?). It provokes one to think, question, and contemplate. While it may take an audience member a while to "digest" the poignancy of this piece, it is definitely worth seeing and thinking about. It is a shame that few plays today tend to do this, which makes I Have Loved Strangers a great piece of theater!

No comments: