Dancing across the finish line

The Cat and the Moon

Written by Tom O'Neil
Directed by Stanley Harrison
Non-union production (closes November 16)
13th Street Repertory Theatre
50 West 13th St. (212/675-6677)
Review by Seth Bisen-Hersh

The Cat and the Moon is a new play based on an original piece by William Butler Yeats. It expands the original as it delves into existential topics like the purpose of life and love, as well as examining avarice. It was well-acted and clever at times, but overall failed to create a clear picture of what the actual point of the play is.

The loose plot follows two homeless men. There is the lame man and the blind man. They have teamed up together to help each other continue day after day. They resemble the lead characters in Beckett's Waiting for Godot, as they stumble to find their path to the saint who can cure them of their ills. Along the way they run into the Bandit, who robs them, and a kind gentleman who turns out to be the very saint they are searching for.

The play started off slowly. However, by the end, the characters were quite compelling. Some of the dialog is really clever and poignant. The most enjoyable aspects of the play were the brief musical interludes that juxtaposed the depth of the text nicely. The ending is a little unclear and out of nowhere, but at least the show ends before it gets old or boring.

The cast was fabulous. All four of the actors made the most of every line. They were dynamic on stage -- exuberant and energetic. They made the show exciting. Michael Andrews, George Bernard Carroll Jr., Nixon Cesar, and Tim Cox brought the show to life and made it far more interesting than it could have been. Whenever they mimed props or dance to music, they were committed and animated.

The play was directed aptly. The stage was always balanced, and the aisle was used frequently. The choreography, by Lorena B. Egan, was cute. Technically the show was minimalist and sparse, which worked for the nature of the play.

The Cat and the Moon is far from purr-fect, but it had a talented cast and a certain intellectual wit.

  Box Score:

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

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Copyright 2003 Seth Bisen-Hersh