Monday, April 20, 2009

El Grito del Bronx

Miracle Theatre Group **Photo credit: Stephanie Davis**
April 3 - 25, 2009

Review by peanutduck

Harrowing, blood-saturated memoryscape populated with mass-murderer, triptych of histrionic Madonnas, white-gloved choral spectre; structured in unrelenting sound bites of tragedy, which, in telling rather than showing play’s intentions, inhibit connection with characters, situation. Lovers’ scenes need to find levity. Ritualized movements in scene transitions poignant. Anti-hero Matthew Dieckman impressively grotesque.


jerryketel said...

This play is a powerhouse of emotion. Thanks to a richly realized script, the actors chew and gnaw on some very meaty roles. But the direction keeps the production from being melodramatic. The standouts for me were Lisamarie Harrison as the grieving Kentucky mother and Matthew Dieckman as the serial killer—but there are many fine performances by this exceptional cast.

The lighting is masterful (there must have been 100 lights installed on the ceiling) bathing the actors in chiaroscuro and furthering the play as a chilling dream sequence.

The set is perfectly realized and doesn't overshadow the action.

Overall, I have been haunted by this show, it is a jazz ensemble playing a tune about our violent cuture in a fresh and challenging way.

However, I think the most telling example of what this play can do to an audience is this piece written by a cast member of last night's performance.

"Tonight's performance was, my god, what's the word, a happening. I don't know who else would appreciate this as none of my friends have seen it. But it's something I must share.

At the end of Act 1, there was no applause. A little disconcerting, but okay with us. We didn't really understand. The stage manager came back at intermission and said 'Whatever you guys are smoking, keep smoking it. This is the best performance yet. Just keep doing what you're doing. Oh my god, the audience doesn't know what to do.'

Act 2. My monologue. No laughs. No giggles. Tense. My tears flow easily tonight. I finish and begin to sing the lullabye, struggling to hold the pitch through the cries. A woman, sitting house left, is sobbing. Audibly. Shamelessly. I see others wiping tears. Sniffs from house right.

Final scene. Lulu at the mirror, telling the story of her brother, who shines now with the moon. It's near the end. The music swells, the lights go to northern lights, the music breaks and the stars appear. The lights fade to black. End of show.

Dead silence.

No applause.

The only audible sound is Cristy is walking off the stage. The silence is palpable. We are behind the curtains, look at each other, confused. The lights come up, our cue to enter for our bow. No sound.

Ithica and I enter through the curtains. the moment we appear, there is a thunder. The sound rolls over us like a tidal wave. And the audience, as if on cue, rises to their feet. A spontaneous standing ovation. Hoots and hollers. Tears and smiles.

We are, breathless. Ecstatic. Cast crying through the bows. Audience wiping tears. Smiling. Tears.


Anonymous said...

As good as the best thing
has ever done.
Top flight acting, directing, set, music, etc.
A solid, deep cast.
I felt like I was in NYC,
only it was 1/5 the ticket cost and no flight, no hotel and no taxi.
And it was probably done for about one tenth the cost of what the big theatres spend.
Why does PCS have 10,000 subscribers?
Damned if I know.

Anonymous said...

got this with my AEA card yesterday.
only AEA would send this out.
"i love actors and by extension, the theatre. i love the minutia that surrounds both. i love listening to and telling green room war stories. i love onstage triumphs and yes, i love even the disasters.
i love the adrenaline that shoots thru every actor onstage when something goes wrong and the relief that sweeps through when some heroic actor saves the day.
i love performance. that time when the human beings onstage interact with the human beings in the audience and together they create the event of performance. it's one of life's most civilized experiences.

it has been said that an actor must have the hide of a rhinoceros,
the courage and audacity of a lion and most importantly the fragile vulnerability of an egg. it has also been said, and i'm not sure by whom, that the moment of 'not knowing' is the moment that has the greatest potential for creativity.
the professional and private lives of most actors are filled to the brim with moments of 'not knowing.' actors are survivors and will continue to to strive because they have the need to celebrate in performance that sacred communion between actor and audience.

robert prosky

Anonymous said...

Hey Drammy Committee did you see this show? Don't forget it!

El Grito del Bronx is what theatre should be. The direction, design, and acting were masterful.

Bravo Milagro!!!

Anonymous said...

We could ask that drammy question of a few things this season so maybe it's time to start that process going? What productions/ performances should the drammy committee remember as the award ceremony nears?

Anonymous said...

we all know how much the drammys love being told what to do.

Anonymous said...

didn't see El Grito but heard it was awesome, but I did like these.

Wish (script)

Seafarer (ensemble)

Apollo (design work)

Frankie & Johnny (acting)

The Receptionist (acting)

Crazy Enough (Musical Performance)

The Merchant of Venice (acting)

Honus and Me (production)