What’s In A Name at Chain Theatre inLIC
A View from the Cliff
by Cliff Kasden
“Got a revolution. Got to revolution!”
Jefferson Airplane 1969
The bold revolutionaries of the 1960s triggered undeniable social change. But the most militant American rebels suffered an unexpected fate. They became perpetual fugitives from justice, changing their identities to survive.
Playwright Timothy Nolan offers What’s In A Name. It is a two act nightmarish revelation in which the protagonist confronts her decades of deception. It is also a window into the tormented woman’s emotional breakdown. Producers Kirk Gostkowski and Rich Ferraioli utilize very capable performers, some with numerous TV and media credits along with AEA credentials. Director Greg Cicchino employs a sparse set and actors who change accents and attitudes in mid sentence. The result is a deliberately ambiguous transformation in locations, timeline and characterizations. All without changing costumes, scenery or adding cast members.
Maria Deasy is Price/Doherty, the crumbling victim of her lost ideals. Her performance is riveting as she unravels emotionally before the audience, almost from her first moments onstage. Lenny Thomas as doomed Black Panther Clarence is invisible to all onstage except Price/Doherty. Thomas’ persona is simultaneously sinister and seductive yet seldom sympathetic. He fills the stage with his presence, providing an eerie glimpse into the anger of a revolutionary. Sutton Crawford as the police officer and Lauren Roth as the waitress Em provide pivotal links that cannot be underestimated.
The Variations Theatre Group has built their new venue at the Chain Theatre located at21-28 45th Road. They represent another bona fide jewel that sparkles on the side streets ofLong IslandCity. Hopefully their success will grow geometrically. It should grow in conjunction with not in competition against other outstanding troupes that have emerged in the area.
As always, save me a seat on the aisle.