Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Naked Stage: A Man Puts On A Play (4 reviews)

The Naked Stage opened its world premiere production of Antonio Amadeo's A Man Puts On A Play on November 2, 2012.
A man struggles to maintain the balance between his art and a regular family life.

Join us for this fly-on-the-wall perspective of the struggles an artist faces before the curtain goes up. Set in an alternate reality, the show follows Antonio Amadeo and his company as they frantically race against the clock to put up a play before the crowds arrive on Opening Night.
Antonio Amadeo directed a cast that featured himself, Andy Quiroga, Kathleen Robiou, Shawn Burgess, Stephanie Meskauskas, Ricardo Redd, Victor Rodriguez, Kaitlin Sarnacki and Jake Tompkins.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Antonio Amadeo ...weaves intensely emotional exchanges about the tension between raising a family and making art into A Man Puts on a Play, a world premiere piece that reveals just how hard Amadeo has been working. He is the show’s playwright, director, producer, designer and one of its key cast members. No wonder his wife Katie (well, an exaggerated and fictionalized version of her, voiced by her) complains in a phone call that he’s never home.
...what you get with A Man Puts on a Play is really two shows: the intense, improvised-seeming process of putting up that onstage attic, complete with lights and props; then the volatile family drama performed after intermission.
Amadeo doesn’t disappoint. He has crafted a one-act about long-estranged, competitive brothers. Joe (Quiroga) believes his feckless younger brother Tony (Amadeo) ruined him financially and caused the stresses that seem to be pulling his family apart. Joe’s high school senior daughter Georgia (Robiou) wants the brothers to put their feud behind them – to put family first. Though a few plot elements are underdeveloped or a bit too tidy, Amadeo has written juicy parts for himself and the other actors, particularly the intense, explosive Quiroga.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
This hour of meta-theater, which will fascinate civilians and amuse veterans, is the delightful curtain raiser to the more traditional scripted second act of A Man Puts On A Play, an engaging and intriguing world premiere written, produced, designed, directed and co-starring Amadeo in a feat reminiscent of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater productions on stage and in film.

A Man Puts On A Play is the theatrical equivalent of cinema verité in which the real pretends to be fake in the first act and the fake pretends to be real in the second act.
The facet that catapults the evening into the go-out-of-your-way-to-see-it category (although the set building qualifies it) is the visceral scorching turn by Andy Quiroga as a brother who feels he was betrayed and abandoned by his other brother played by Amadeo (who does a superb job acting as well).
Quiroga here is on fire in his frustration-fueled rage, in his quietly wounded soul and above all, in his ability to inhabit a character with such realism that you believe every moment, regardless how extreme his emotions. Quiroga’s electric creation under Amadeo’s direction exudes a knife-sharp fury that seems barely kept in check.
As a director, Amadeo deftly positions and smoothly moves his chess pieces around the claustrophobic attic. He and Quiroga both have a sixth sense for using their body language to underscore what their characters are feeling, such as Quiroga often seeming tense and coiled. Like a Shepard play, Amadeo dilutes the talkiness by having the characters employ physical actions wherever possible...
Kudos are due the cast/crew comprised of Shawn Burgess, Ricardo Redd, Victor Rodriguez, Jakes Tompkins and Kaitlin Sarnacki who actually works as the stage manager and Stephanie Meskauskas who doubles as the light board operator.
Roger Martin reviewed for miamiartzine:
Antonio Amadeo wrote a play. Then he designed it. Then he produced it. Then he directed it. And, of course he acted in it. And then he presented it on stage at the Pelican Theatre. All this with great wit, imagination and energy.
...we watch the set being built.  No, it's not like watching grass grow or paint dry. It's watching a summer cloud build into a towering thunderstorm. It's watching a marvelously designed and constructed attic slowly appear before us, and watching the actors grow and become our friends as they work and joke and dance and react to the pressure at every call of time remaining. And suddenly an hour has passed, the set has been built, the lights hung, the props are in place and a scene has been rehearsed...
Amadeo and Quiroga are veteran actors, completely convincing in their rage and remorse and newcomer Robiou handles herself well in their company.   If I had a complaint it would be that the piece is, at a few times, too argumentative and shrill, but that is a small thing, easily corrected, in a debut play that is well told, with strong characters and plot.

Ron Levitt wrote for ENV Magazine:
...Amadeo proves anew he is at the top of his game as an actor, playwright and scenic designer.
A Man Puts On A Play follows Amadeo and his company as they frantically race against the clock to put up a show before the crowds arrive on Opening Night. Just when you think the building of the set (with background music) is over, the audience is asked to take a 10-minute break before they actually see a brilliant one-act, short play...
Carbonell winner Amadeo and Quiroga give two walloping performances.  It makes one want to see more of Quiroga  who  appears in productions much too infrequently.  He and Amadeo play strong characters in this snippet of a short play.  You may find yourself wanting more dialog so that this  short play could be a full-blown production.  It has that much dramatic appeal. Roubiou – as the daughter –holds her own with these two acting heavyweights.
It was several years ago that Naked Stage won a Silver Palm  as the Outstanding New Emerging Theatre Company. This particular show should indicate just why it earned  and deserves such respect.
The Naked Stage presents A Man Puts On A Play at the Pelican Theater through November 18, 2012.

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