Monday, March 8, 2010

Review - No Traveler ((a)muse Collective and FRIGID New York)

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Cathryn Lynne

Penny Pollak earns major points for her creativity in her dark and fascinating No Traveler. In this one-woman show, Pollak plays a woman who commits suicide, and trapped between Heaven and Hell, is sent to witness and perhaps save others who are in the act of taking their own lives.

Through Pollak we experience both the last moments of these desperate people and her frantic attempts to save them. It's this conceit that allows Pollak to really shine as she plays a number of characters, all of whom are at the worst moments of their lives. In addition to performing these monologues, there are times when we see both sides of the conversation - first from one character's point of view, then the other's. This is a fascinating technique, and Pollak handles it very well. It is particularly moving when Pollak's final suicide is talked out of it by her character in Purgatory. The audience never knows just what the Purgatory character says to convince this final person that life is worth living, and while I would love to know the secret, it makes much better theatre this way.

Dark and a little creepy, with a streak of gallows humor, No Traveler is an odd little play. But in the skilled hands of Penny Pollak and director Samantha Jones, it is a pleasure to watch.

No Traveler
Co-created by Penny Pollak and Samantha Jones
Performed by Penny Pollak
Directed by Samantha Jones
Lighting Design by luckydave
Music Direction by Mike Milazzo
Songs performed by Mike Milazzo and Lee Goffin-Bonefant
Sound Design by Nicole Jung
Stage Manager: Marsha Brown
Photos: Rebecca Chiappone

UNDER St. Marks
94 St. Marks Place

Thu 2/25 - 10:30 PM
Sat 2/27 - 10:00 PM
Sun 2/28 - 7:00 PM
Wed 3/03 - 10:30 PM
Sat 3/06 - 5:30 PM

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