Monday, March 8, 2010

Review - Four Quarters (Agony Productions and FRIGID New York)

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Carl Zetterstrom

Four Quarters is a good love story. Two people meet, learn to trust and open themselves up, fight, love, lose - all the usual things. The difference in Christopher Heath's play is that instead of presenting two halves trying to be made whole, he presents four quarters trying to become one.

The play centers on the relationship between Terry/Teri and Joe/Jo. As the names imply, each character is played by two actors - one male, one female. Heath eschews the obvious choice of having Teri (Tamar Pelzig) and Jo (Margo Brooke Pellmar) be the feminine side of the characters and Terry (Omer Barnea) and Joe (Solomon Shiv) be the masculine. Each half of each character is a fully developed person. While this may lead to some momentary confusion, especially when it comes to the sexual pairing (Terry and Jo, Teri and Jo, Terry and Joe, Teri and Joe, or all together depending on the scene), the payoff of watching these four actors work is worth it. Their chemistry, both in terms of the relationship between Joe/Jo and Terry/Teri and between Joe and Jo and Terry and Teri, is excellent. The actors work well together, and have a natural fluidity that assists in making it clear that each pair of actors is indeed part of the same person. The ensemble is a pleasure to watch.

The play is strong and the direction solid. While most of the production works, lighting designer Mark Jeter's decision to use bursts of light, meant to be reminiscent of photographer Joe/Jo's camera flash is distracting, and the set up for this lighting style at the opening of the play goes on for too long.

Overall, Four Quarters is an intriguing, well-written play that is given a good production at FRIGID New York. With luck, this won't be the last we see of it.

Four Quarters
Written and directed by Christopher Heath
Stage Manager: Heather Olmstead
Assistant Stage Manager: Jeremy Paschall
Lighting Designer: Mark Jeter
Art Designer: Grant King
Production Photography: Carl Zetterstrom

Featuring: Omer Barnea (Terry), Margo Brooke Pellmar (Jo), Tamar Pelzig (Teri), Solomon Shiv (Joe)

The Kraine Theater
85 East 4th Street

Closed Saturday, March 6th

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