"Visiting Oliver" is the story of Ruth, a southern woman, who started having children at age fourteen and now has a grand total of eight. However, now that she has been diagnosed with brain cancer, she goes to visit Oliver, her "boy of no hope," whom she committed to a mental hospital when he was a child and has not visited since.
The second piece, "When People Still Smoked Cigarettes," is about May, the cigarette-addicted daughter of Ruth from "Visiting Oliver," and what happens when she has a run-in with two cigarette-addicted bicyclists who are riding cross-country for AIDS-awareness.
The final piece, "With Spirit and With Fire," is set in the Comeback Motel in Atlantic City. It concerns Naomi, a coked-out singer, and the night she spends with John, a preacher "named for the Baptist," who had a relationship with May of "When People Still Smoked Cigarettes."
All three plays that make up Night of Nave are wonderfully written. Each play is deceptively simple; but none of them take you where you expect to go. While the second and third plays of the evening are a bit long, they are still powerful pieces that keep your attention throughout. However, it was the opening one-act, "Visiting Oliver," that was the standout piece of a standout evening. Simply, it is one of the best-written one-acts of this year or any year and must surely become a staple of the Off-Off-Broadway scene in years to come.
The production by the 29th Street Rep. was excellent all around. The performances were consistently top-notch, with Paula Ewin, Elizabeth Elkins, Charles Willey, and the unnerving Leo Farley standing out. The direction by Vera Beren was straightforward and on the mark; and the sets by Charles Kirby, and lights by Stewart Wagner, were simple yet totally complete.
Night of Nave is an example of the best that Off-Off-Broadway has to offer, and all who were associated with it should be proud of their efforts.
(Also featuring Patrick John, Vincent Rotolo, David Mogentale, and Neil Necastro. Stage managers, Patrice Ellison and Rhoda Cosme.)
Copyright 1997 John Attanas
Return to OOBR Index
Return to Home Page