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.

Friday, March 05, 2010

New York Frigid Festival: No Traveler

Photo by Rebecca Chiappone

Reviewed by Amanda Halkiotis

Writer/performer Penny Pollak plays two young girls with a flair for the dramatic in No Traveler. The first attempts to validate her existence in her recently-remarried father’s life by pretending to end it, only to wind up in purgatory. She has the chance to rejoin the living, but only if she can talk another suicidal girl out of making a similar decision.

If only the writing were as dramatic: instead, it gets bogged down by the thematic darkness and by Pollak’s unconvincing acting. Her first role consists of flippant confidence and grating pay-attention-to-me amateur acting, an overdone and one-dimensional portrayal of a petulant daddy’s girl. As the second girl, who fawns over the romance of suicide, she is simply naïve and whiny, far from the seriousness of death and the level of sadness she claims to be feeling.

The melodramatic monologues don’t help her as writer or performer: they’re a bunch of clichés, from the jealousy caused by a young new stepmother to the trauma of being abused by a mother’s new boyfriend. Wracked by a silence alternated by screams and sobs, trapped in a dimly lit theater, the audience loses sympathy and instead begins to hope that they simply end it and go straight to hell.

No Traveler (50 minutes)
Under St. Marks Theater (94 St. Marks Place)
Tickets: $12; Students and Seniors $9
Performances: Saturday 3/6 @ 5:30pm

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