Friday, September 7, 2012

Stage Door: A Shayna Maidel (2 reviews)

The Broward Stage Door Theatre opened its production of A Shayna Maidel on August 24, 2012
The powerful story of two sisters separated by the Holocaust and reunited 15 years later in New York City.
Hugh M. Murphy directed a cast that featured Miki Edelman, Kevin Reilley, Christian Vanderpas, Mary Sansone, Valerie Roche and Danielle Tabino.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
A Shayna Maidel isn’t new to Broward – the late Brian C. Smith produced it in 1990, and Mosaic Theatre did it in 2002 – but the play seems to belong in a place that has become home to so many whose lives and families were forever altered by the Holocaust. At Stage Door, rapt audiences hang on every word.
Superficially, Rayzel is the shayna maidel, or “pretty girl,” of the play’s title. But at least initially, Roche makes her a spoiled, superficial, rather ugly American lacking in empathy. Slender and watchfully intense, Sansone makes Lusia a woman of conviction, strength and quiet inner beauty.
Time, reality and fantasy are fluid in A Shayna Maidel, and though director Hugh M. Murphy keeps things relatively clear, some moments are confusing... The play’s pace, however, is so stately that the running time could probably be slashed by 15 minutes if all the pregnant pauses and heavy silences were excised. And they should be.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Playwright Barbara Lebow illustrated her premise in her 1985 A Shayna Maidel now enjoying an ultimately moving revival at Broward Stage Door.  It benefits greatly from a promising performance by Mary Sansone as a shattered Holocaust survivor trying to reconnect with the remains of her family in New York City.
Under the direction of Hugh M. Murphy, Sansone’s Luisa Weiss seems so fettered by an emotional straightjacket and speaks in such halting, faltering English, you’d suspect she has no emotions that have not been cauterized. And yet when she is speaking to her ghosts, Sansone shows us a woman still alive inside, equipped with a quick smile, wit, anger, sorrow and even playfulness.
Murphy has elicited generally solid performances from his cast, especially from old pros Edelman (so fine in Baby GirL this summer) and Reilley (who scored in Deathtrap).
The pace did stumble, in part, because of Ardean Lanhuis’ set design of Rayzel’s tiny  apartment.  Because the show was moved from Stage Door’s small theater into its larger one to accommodate audience demand, a large arch separates the sets representing the living room and single bedroom. That forces characters to walk down “a hallway” with nothing to do and bogs down the flow of the action.
A Shayna Maidel has been extended at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through September 30, 2012

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