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, February 06, 2007


Part of the Triple Threat Series at Emerging Artists Theatre

Engaging stories and a creative plot enliven Real Danger, but the drama suffers from poor stage blocking, predictability and daytime soap-opera histrionics.

Reviewed by Cindy Pierre

Not even doting gestures and scripted lines of devotion can generate any chemistry between actors Eric Chase (Ferdy) and Carol Monda (Vicki) in playwright Jeff Hollman's Real Danger. Luckily, after a sluggish start, the dynamics onstage improve with the addition of Edward (a physical Ryan Duncan), the ex-best friend, ex-soccer partner, and current criminal lawyer to Ferdy's insurance salesman and possessive boyfriend. Missed connections and flat line-reciting is quickly replaced by an urgency and enthusiasm that is skillfully led by director Paul Adams. Ferdy's character is particularly invigorated by Edward's presence. He seems to take Edward's entrance to the stage as a cue to dazzle us with his dominance of Vicki and his strong personality. It's not to say that Ferdy appears weak before this. Yet, Vicki alone isn't enough to give him that testosterone charge that makes him lock horns with Edward as an unwitting opponent.

The story is simple. A man living with his girlfriend in Ohio runs into an old buddy from college on his way to Canada. The old friend decides to use this occasion to apologize for an old wrong, and catch up on old times. This reunion, however, entails more than anyone anticipates.

Real Danger's many stories are peppered with a certain joie de vivres, a happiness to be alive that enables the audience to envision the action as it unfolds and nestle in its wonderfully crafted elements. Though not always plausible, they are engrossing and imaginative.

Vicki, the celebrated "fight and flight" photographer and central character of some of the stories, is much more engaging in the stories than she is onstage. The character that Hollman has written is exceptional, but as the personification, Carol Monda is miscast. Her performance is stunted and lacks passion. Celebrated as a prize-winning photographer, using the fourth wall concept as a place to hang up her imaginary photographs leaves something to be desired. I felt cheated by not having at least one visual reference to connect the many praises of her work to. There are some nice moments between Ferdy and Vicki, but unfortunately, these are the same moments that could have easily been followed by drum rolls or sinister soundbites for dramatic effect. Each of these moments serve as harbingers of gloom and doom, and thankfully, the score was not written to mimic the spikes in tension.

Ryan Duncan, with his athletic posture, has the look of a soccer player, and it is reasonable to label him as such. It is harder for him to assume the role of an attorney, especially a criminal one. Much more believable as an entertainment lawyer, if at all, Edward's background doesn't support his profession, and neither does the actor. He was also the most elusive of the three characters, made so by the questionable direction that had his back face the audience on numerous occasions.

In less than ninety minutes, Jeff Hollman takes you through an elliptical mock-thriller that starts off poorly, succeeds in some instances, and ends poorly. It is a fun and entertaining experience, if you don't mind the kitsch. For those of us that are a little bit more discerning, the slightly campy execution may overwhelm the good.


February 5th-March 3rd at Theatre 5 (311 W. 43rd Street, 5th Floor). Phone: 212-247-2429. Tickets: $40.00

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