The choices a person makes every single moment of every single day can have far-reaching repercussions, repercussions that are not always readily apparent, nor in some cases even thinkable.
This is the premise of Anthony Jaswinski's play Airport Hilton, an eerie, touching, and ultimately thought-provoking work that was recently given a smashing production by the intrepid Invisible City Theatre Company. Tautly directed by David Epstein, Airport Hilton plays fast and loose with time, place, and perception, twisting and turning with an almost cinematic precision. Everything is familiar, nothing is what it seems, and every time it looks like Jaswinski has inserted a stock plot device, the next scene shifts everything around with an unexpected turn that shakes up all preconceived notions. It was intoxicating to watch, especially given the uniformly superb performances of the high-powered ensemble. Gerry Lehane as Paul, a husband faced with the death of his pregnant wife in a plane crash, defined unbearable loss with just the simplest of emotive gestures; Cecelia Frontero perfectly captured the officiousness of corporatespeak and yet managed to be genuinely sympathetic at the same time; Maggie Bell gave stunning life to the memory of Lauren, the wife; and Elizabeth Horn, one of the most adept comic actresses on the scene, stole the show with her hilarious yet moving portrait of a former security professional, Susan Piper, who has lost her lover in the same disaster. Also excellent were J.T. Patton as a security guard kept on his toes by Piper, and Kristin Woodburn as the woman conducting an adulterous affair with Paul, conveniently in the same airport Hilton where all of the "survivors" have been summoned.
In keeping with the tautness of the production, it was designed by Gaye Niver-Agi to be as spare and uncompromising as necessary, and Jason J. Rainone lit it with white-hot precision.
Winner of a 2004 OOBR award for their scintillating production of The Beggar's Opera, the Invisible City Theatre Company is one to watch, as is Jaswinski. Who knows where they will go next? Wherever it is, it is bound to be surprising, definitely challenging, and most probably wonderful.
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Copyright 2004 Doug DeVita