Janitorial journal

Buon Natale, Bruno

Written and performed by Terianne Falcone
Directed by Gary Austin
Midtown International Theatre Festival
Raw Space Theatre M
529 W. 42nd St. (279-4200/www.ticketcentral.org)
Equity showcase (closes July 29)
Review by John Chatterton

This one-woman show (the title means "Merry Christmas, Bruno") presents a multifaceted and ultimately lovable (if gruff and eccentric) character who is central to a bunch of other characters, also played by Falcone, their stories ripped from yesterday's newspapers.

Bruna, a superintendent, speaks broken English with lots of Italian thrown in (she's the "soopa the buildin'"). Her story begins at Confession, where she asks for a big penance (mispronounced to sound like "penis") for, she thinks, accidentally killing her husband, Bruno. (She didn't clean the ice off the steps well enough; when he slipped on them, he had a heart attack, soiled his pants, and died of shame -- at least in her broken version.) The characters connected to her building, whom Falcone also brings to life, include a socially challenged teacher investigating a roommate situation; a woman whose husband died of cancer recently, who is seen at a recurring slumber party, of long standing, with her girlhood friends, as well as on a blind date with a far-from-chivalrous Russian; a limo driver who remembers an atrocity he committed against a Japanese prisoner in WW II; and a woman who killed her baby over 20 years previously and kept it in her apartment, carefully wrapped up.

The delight here was definitely in the details, which Falcone provided with close attention to body language and diction. She covered her brief but effective costume changes with more snippets of Bruna. Although most of the vignettes are downers, they contain much humor, and a ray of humanity shines through them all.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 1
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2002 John Chatterton