Spinning on air


By Buffy Redsecker
Directed by Amey Goerlich
Practical Girl Productions
The Producer's Club II
616 9th Ave (at 43rd St.) 987-2477
Non-union production (closes October 17th)
Review by Sheila Mart

CYC is a poetically written pastiche, rather than a play, showing the never-ending life cycle - from birth to death and back to birth. It expresses universal feelings common to most human beings, of regret that they didn't do more with their lives and wishing they could have a second chance. The fear of growing old-unfulfilled-is shown by the realization of incapacitating physical degeneration. None of these facets of the human condition is new, but they have been more eloquently expressed by more prolific writers who have more life experience. Ms. Redsecker is certainly a talented and sensitive writer. It would be interesting to see how she would handle a play, as opposed to a symbolic commentary.

This piece is abundant with symbolism-from the use of reams of Saran Wrap instead of paper, with a pen pulled down from the ceiling at will, which no doubt indicated the transparency and ephemaralism of the creative process. The only developed character in the piece-the playwright (played by all four actors in successive repetitions)-was the one who was able to use this device most effectively. The other characters were somewhat shallow and underdeveloped - probably inevitable in this kind of piece. The evolution of a relationship-beginning and (sad) ending-is emotionally effective the first time one sees it. But after the fourth time-portrayed by different actors and actresses (in keeping with the evolutionary life cycle as previously indicated)-it loses its impact and becomes merely an exercise in an acting class. This particular device came across as an excuse for lack of inspiration on the part of the writer. Also, there were sections of the dialogue which seemed so staccato, as to be more cinematic in style than theatrical. The meaning of the title-CYC-was unexplained.

There were four very talented young actors involved here-Dot Antoniades, Ilana Gustafson, Andrew Phelan, and Kristopher Wallin, who, as the program says, played all six roles-Boy, Older Boy, Younger Deity, Elder Deity, Playwright, and Girl, as effectively as they were given a chance to do. They all acquitted themselves admirably.

The set design, by Eric Brookins, was quite ingenious and perfect for the symbolism. To describe it as a practical edifice from floor to almost-ceiling, which held two sitting levels, would not do it justice. It was most effective.

The lighting design, by Owen Hughes, still had a few glitches, but was basically effective and illuminated the mood of the piece.

The director, Amey Goerlich, achieved a fluidity of movement that made up for, and occasionally enhanced, the repetitiveness of the dialogue.

Costumer Stacey O'Neil did not have her creativity stretched too far-the pale green short-sleeved shirts, black pants (for all the actors), and one beige jacket were just right.

Box Score:

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

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Copyright 1999 Sheila Mart