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.

Monday, May 07, 2007

God's Ear

God's Ear takes a simple story and tells it in an unforgettable way. Raw (and realistic) emotions are evoked onstage that are not soon forgotten. It is truly one of those all too rare, awe inspiring evenings of theater.

(L to R): Christina Kirk (Mel) & Matthew Montelongo (GI Joe)
Photo By: Jim Baldassare
Reviewed by Kristyn R Smith

God's Ear, billed as a "full length play with musical interludes," is without question a step apart from most of what you'll encounter in NY theaters- Broadway or Off. Different isn't often a quality embraced by producers. For that alone New Georges merits great applause. But God's Ear isn't just different and New Georges didn't just take a big risk. They brought to the stage a piece that comes as a cool breeze to a stifling heat - how refreshing.

Penned by Jenny Schwartz, who is "pioneering a style of heightened theatrical language," God's Ear concerns the effects of a son's death on his mother and father. Their grief and inability to cope ultimately pervades every aspect of their lives, which forces them to find solace in the most unlikely of places. The dialogue is rich with insightful questions, repetition, and humor in the guise of pain; its style is jaunting to the ear at first. However, once the initial shock wears off, however, the rhythms and inflections, which make themselves as apparent as the words themselves, begin to ring in the ear. Their imprint on the mind lingers long after the sound waves have decayed from the air. This work resonates in ways reminiscent of spoken word poetry.

But the really interesting part, is that oftentimes you've already heard what's being said before. Schwartz utilizes every aphorism, creed, adage, proverb or turn of phrase out there and twists its meaning to fulfill her own desires. The result is the common made uncommon. It's the human psyche under the microscope, both disturbing and awe inspiring. In particular, the songs lend themselves to this balancing act. They create an ethereal quality with the sound of disembodied voices: the chant-like interludes serve as a reprieve from the insanity. But despite being strange and pretty, I felt they didn't add to the overall show.

The cast, on the other hand, added a great deal. They were very good, particularly with the skillful execution of the subtle nuances of the script. Because so many of the lines are repeated and/or phrases we're familiar with, it becomes a challenge to deliver them in a new light. Every performer masters this technique, but I have to give particular kudos to two of my favorites, Annie McNamara and Monique Vukovic. I also really enjoyed the Tooth Fairy and GI Joe characters. Their look, done by costume designer Oivera Gajic, was so imaginative and really playful.

The set, designed by Kris Stone, was also imaginative. First impressions in this case are not everything. The bare stage, excluding two chairs, certainly isn't much to look at from first glance, but as the show progressed the stage continually transformed. Individual squares which make up the deck began to take on a life of their own - evolving and unearthing unknown places (and people). It was perfect in its simplicity and quite ingeniously crafted.

The only change I would make would be some slight cuts in the script. Running without an intermission in the case of this show is imperative I believe, but it did run a tad long at close to 120 minutes. That said, I have no reservations in saying: Go see God's Ear. Go see God's Ear. Go See God's Ear.
God's Ear
East 13th Street Theater
136 East 13th (between 3rd and 4th)
now through June 2
Wednesday to Monday at 8 PM
Tickets $25
Students and Seniors $18
Mondays are "pay-what-you-will"
Available via
212-868-4444 or

No comments: