Sunday, March 11, 2012

Promethean Theatre Company: The Unseen (reviews)

The Promethean Theatre Company opened its final production, Craig Wright's The Unseen, on March 9, 2012.
Imprisoned by a totalitarian regime and mercilessly tortured for unknown crimes, Wallace and Valdez live without hope of escape or release. When an enigmatic new prisoner arrives and begins communicating in code, both men develop new relationships to each other, their captors, and themselves. A darkly humorous examination of faith in an uncertain world.
Margaret M. Ledford directed a cast that featured Alex Alvarez, Antonio Amadeo, and Andrew Wind.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
The cruel irony is that The Unseen, the last show before The Promethean Theatre closes its doors forever, is one of the finest productions that the company has mounted in its eight-year history.

Craig Wright’s tale depicting two political prisoners tortured in a Kafkaesque dungeon is one of the most incisive explorations of existentialism since Waiting For Godot and No Exit. But the script is elevated to agonizing, visceral life by actors Antonio Amadeo, Andrew Wind and Alex Alvarez, led by the inestimable insight of director Margaret M. Ledford.
This often bleak, deeply intellectual, highly metaphorical work will horrify some people, even bore audiences unwilling to invest their own analytical skills in decoding an evening of drama. It occasionally dances on the precipice of losing the audience in the lengthy Byzantine tunnels of its characters’ insane musings. But the faithful can be assured: You’re in good hands.
Ledford long ago proved her skill at keeping weighty ideas engrossing by grounding them in the behavior of people we recognize from our own lives. But here she meets the considerable challenge of preventing two guys standing around in claustrophobic cells and talking all night from becoming a static tableau. Her prisoners are only at rest when they are too emotionally pole-axed to move.
Wind... delivers a strong portrait of a man whose haunted eyes reveal that he knows his worship of reason is meaningless in a life of arbitrariness.
...Amadeo is almost a brand name in his reliability in portraying an amiable human being... We’ve seen him use this character of a slightly daffy naif before, but his warmth and humor is a perfect foil to Wind’s cold Wallace.
Alvarez only has two scenes, but he is terrifying in his rage at feelings he is does not want to acknowledge. His operatic fury is so powerful that it is nearly impossible to recall him as the amiable gay cousin he created for GableStage’s recent The Motherf***er With The Hat.
David Radunsky accentuates the bleak scene with his focused spotlights and more subtle lighting shifts as emotions change. Dan Gelbmann’s honeycomb-shaped cells seems simple, but is masterfully designed, painted and decorated. Special mention is due sound designer Matt Corey: Not only does he provides the ominous soundscape of maddingly random buzzes, beeps, clicks and sirens designed to unhinge the prisoners, but he has dropped in a subtle underscoring of unearthly mechanical noises of no recognizable origin.
Farewell, Promethean, Producing Artistic Director Deborah L. Sherman, Associate Artistic Directors Ledford and Jane G. Duncan, and its roll call of actors and designers. Thank you for eight years of theater you could see nowhere else. The Unseen is a hell of an exit.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
A small company’s constant need to raise funds can grind its tiny staff down, so that the art gets clouded in worry or compromise. Producing artistic director Deborah L. Sherman and associate artistic director Margaret M. Ledford weren’t willing to let that happen. So with The Unseen, they’re sending Promethean off to the land of defunct theater companies on a thrilling, disturbing, dazzling high.
Ledford’s direction and the collaborative work of set designer Dan Gelbmann, lighting designer David Radunsky and sound designer Matt Corey keep the audience on edge. The atmosphere in the “prison” is dark and creepy, pierced with sudden, unsettling sounds.
But what really sells The Unseen is the haunting performances by Wind as a man on the verge of finally breaking, the sweet presence of Amadeo as an optimistic soul who can pluck a world of hope from a tiny sound, and the explosive fury of Alvarez as a psychopath with one of the most horrifying descriptions of violence ever devised by a playwright. Alvarez, last seen locally as the funny gay cousin Julio in GableStage’s The Motherf**ker with the Hat, comes off as utterly disturbing and unhinged in The Unseen. And that, folks, is great acting. Unlike money, that has never been in short supply at Promethean.
The Promethean Theatre Company's final production, Craig Wright's The Unseen, plays at the Nova Southeastern University Black Box Theater through March 25th, 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment