Archive | January, 2019

The Mortality Machine Resurrects Itself with Great Success!

15 Jan

Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan


Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? Or to be thrust in the middle of the action on Game of Thrones, not as a spectator, but as a real character with a real story and importance? If so, then you’ll love The Mortality Machine brought to us by Sinking Ship Creations. This is not ordinary theater! It is a theatrical roller-coaster of experiential drama that immerses you in the world of the play and you and, no one else, can make their own decisions that effect everything. It’s astonishing what the cast and crew accomplishes in the little space they have to work with.

Ok, so after the hype of Sleep No More, I was a little skeptical about this production, but I decided to give it a chance and I am glad I did. Everyone’s journey on this quest begins when you enter the door. You start by entering this dingy hole in the wall apartment looking building and I was hesitant to say the least. But then, (after two very nice men carried down my wheelchair for me) I was given a character. I read it, still wondering why I came out of my warm apartment for this.  But then the magic happened. And it was magic. The doors shut and we forced to play our roles or sit there idly for two and a half hours. I opted to give it a shot and join in. Hey I’m an actor, so why not right? But I quickly learned that you don’t need to be an actor to enjoy the event that unfolds before your eyes and that you partly create for yourself.

This will be a short review, not because Sinking Ships, cast, and crew are not praiseworthy, they are But, out of fairness for you and them, I don’t want to give too much away. Simply go see the “show” and give yourself over to it. It’s unbelievable fun when you allow yourself to surrender to the world they create. I must give my hats off to Kelsey Rondeou and Raphael Svarin who were unbelievably committed to their characters and whom I “chose” to interact with the most. This was a theatrical role playing event that I will not soon forget! Go see it now and don’t judge it until it’s over…things are not what they appear.

The Mortality Machine plays now through Feb 3, 2019 at 59 Canal St. www.

The Seeing Place Theater and Their Border Wall

10 Jan

 Reviewed by Gregor Collins

The out-and-out doggedness that fuels The Seeing Place’s artistic choices is the theater company equivalent to Donald Trump and his border wall—they seem to have no misgivings about digging in to deep, dark, divisive material they know may only please half the audience. But as Gustav Klimt once said: “If you can’t please everyone with your deeds and your art, please just a few.”

Typically they do please me at least, but admittedly I had a better time at their previous work The Hysteria of Doctor Faustus. Their new work, though, two intense short plays in one evening, both two-handers, at least serves up the intensity you would expect from The Seeing Place: A Number, by Caryl Churchill, and ‘night, Mother, by Marsha Norman.

Churchill’s A NUMBER—a philosophical investigation into free will and the question of nature verses nurture—explores the issue of human cloning through the relationships between a father and his three sons.

Norman’s ‘NIGHT, MOTHER—winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama—begins with Jessie calmly telling her Mama that by morning she plans to commit suicide. The subsequent dialogue slowly reveals Jessie’s reasons for her decision.

Erin Cronican, Seeing Place’s Executive Artistic Director, directed the former and co-starred in the latter, and Brandon Walker, the Producing Artistic Director, directed the latter and co-starred in the former. These two are the hardest-working indie theater-makers in New York.

Despite the two scripts being penned by renowned playwrights, I wasn’t blown away by either show. Part of the problem, specifically with A Number, was that, for me, one half of the cast (again, there are only two people in it), was completely ineffectual. I’m still slightly flummoxed by why they wouldn’t have cast a better actor.

Brandon Walker, on the other hand—the “other half” of the cast, who adroitly plays three different “son” clones—much like a Joaquin Phoenix or a Colin Ferrell, has that innate dangerous quality to his work—you never quite know what he’s going to do next. That “unsettling” quality is not something you get treated to from most actors. There are moments his instincts fail him and he flirts with over-acting, but as he grows as an actor he’ll learn to harness that cauldron of chaos into consistently brilliant turns.

Regardless of what I thought about the evening, my relationship with The Seeing Place is like my relationship with one of my favorite filmmakers, Terrence Malick—though I don’t love everything he does, I’ll always see everything he makes.


A NUMBER / ‘NIGHT, MOTHER plays January 5-20, 2019

GENERAL ADMISSION – $30 (VIP tickets $40)

The Seeing Place @ the Paradise Factory

64 East 4th Street, NYC