Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010

A Familiar Night In Theatre

Friday Night Mixed a Next Act Opening Night With A Benefit for Two Injured Actors

By Russ Bickerstaff
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My wife and I arrived at the Off- Broadway Theatre. It was presumably one of the last time that would be happening what with Next Act moving out of the space soon. The opening night crowd for Purgatorio was impressive, including a number of highly recognizable theatre people. My wife and I sat in front of John McGivern. Norman Moses was there. Matt Kemple invited me to Monday’s Love’s Fire with Renaissance Theaterworks. My wife and I discussed purgatory with McGivern and a few others before the show. The lights dimmed and settled into the performance.

Next Act's Purgatorio is the second show to open this month that features a really intense emotional drama playing out between a man and a woman without intermission. Angela Iannone and David Cecsarini were intense. There’s a kind of beautifully sterile, institutional feel about the set that elegantly draws the audience in to the dram playing out between these two people. A full review of the show runs in next week’s Shepherd-Express.

My wife and I climbed out of the theatre space after a thoroughly engaging show to shoot out to the Alchemist Theatre for the Voss/Waszak benefit that was being held there. The drive out to the Alchemist Theatre from the Off-Broadway was a bit chilly. Parking in Bay View was relatively easy to come by. The Alchemist was packed. There we were in a very, very crowded space filled with actors and others. I considered catching the performance of stellar sketch comedy group Meanwhile, but decided that it might interfere with thoughts I was having about Purgatorio. I wanted to keep fresh for the review that I was going to be writing the next day. This was kind of a disappointment, as Meanwhile is a fantastic group and I rarely find myself with the opportunity to see them perform.

Instead of watching the show, my wife and I hung out at the bar. I ended up falling into a brief exchange with David Rothrock. He gave me the latest on Voss—the actor who was stabbed with a knife at an East Side party last week is recovering quite well. He’s expected out of the hospital by the end of the week, if I recall correctly. The rest of the crowd was very familiar. There were a number of faces there attached to people I’ve written about in countless reviews. It’s a bit strange seeing actors out of costume and out of context in a setting as informal as the Alchemist Theatre’s Bay View Lounge. Had a chance to talk with Travis Knight of Uprooted . . . evidently he was set to be in the Monday  Renaissance show in a short with Voss. As a result of the attack, the short had to be dropped from the show. Love’s Fire is now set to be a series of five shorts based on sonnets by Shakespeare. Judging from what I’ve heard last night, this is going to be a really, really interesting show.

Next Act’s Purgatorio runs through February 21st at the Off-Broadway Theatre.

Renaissance’s Love’s Fire has two performances on Monday, February 1st: one at 5:30 pm and another at 8pm.

Those who didn’t make the benefit last night can still donate money to Voss/Waszak through the Alchemist Theatre website.

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