Theater for the New City
Written and Performed by LOVESPHERE
Book and Music by GARY HEIDT (bass) and GARY MILES (guitar)
Lyrics by GARY HEIDT, GARY MILES and NATHAN METZ
April 1 17, 2004, Theater for the New City, www.theaterforthenewcity.net
Directed by FLORA SCOTT
Choreography VON JACOBS
Musical Director GARY MILES
Stage Manager CHERYL MIRANDA SISON
Lighting Design RACHEL KABER
Additional Material ALBERT SOLOMON, MICHAEL NATALE, EDWARD COYNE
Chris Baxter Angry Mime, Dr. Daxter
Jason K. Davis The Musician
Cara DOnofrio Crow Maggie
Christopher Gaskin Kip
Anthony Gilkes Kim
Pat Harper House Manager
Rachel Kaber Bartender, Judge Sal, Vacationing Doctor
Arthur Kwan Techie Tom, Judge Ed
Erin A. Leahy Katerina Ivanova
Nathan Metz Homeless Man, Nate Blorg, God
Gary Miles Chatsworth
Sara Jean Olink Emcee, Nurse
Liz Wisan Irina Ivanova
* PLUS A special, different guest artist/contestant at each performance
In a world gone weird with war and weighted stardom, and where the latest wild craze is to exist within a reality TV haze, a musical about Moldavian twins conjoined at the ass makes perfect sense, and so, AMERICAN EYEBALL has come to the New York stage for audience absorption. Presented by that eclectic, eccentric collective known around these parts as Lovesphere, this kooky comedy was about what I expected, and perhaps a little bit more.
Featuring a rag-tag cast of characters and pretty much non-existent off-stage finesse, AMERICAN EYEBALL possesses, nevertheless, the sort of peculiar charm to be had from the offbeat, off-off-Broadway universe it exists in. Introducing not only the sisters-at-odds Ivanova twins, but also an assortment of St. Marks Place-of-yore drug users, homeless people, street performers and sex industrialists, the creators use the myriad montage to musical advantage. Presenting musical styles that range from ditties, to dark, and hinting at everything from Lydia Lunch and Bauhaus to "legitimate" musical theater and more, the creative team make those elements work well. There were some good songs, and I was even impressed by a number of the arrangements.
Where it gets dicey is in the two-thirds to three-quarters mark of the actual plot of AMERICAN EYEBALL, where this musical is less about melody and more about story. At that point, things with the twins, their shot at stardom on a television show called "American Eyeball," their unwitting descent into the seedy world of snuff films, and their healthy reemergence comes too fast and furious to make sense. Add to the denouement the tidying up of loose ends of all of the other main characters we meet, and you can imagine how the end drags on a bit too long.
However, I would have to say that AMERICAN EYEBALL is in perfect harmony with the spirit of Lovesphere. With part of their mission statement reading, "We have a cosmic duty to bring a profound wackiness into manifestation in this Age of Aquariums," how can I fault them for doing exactly that?
- Kessa De Santis -