Alison Albeck, Producing Director – Ian Marks, Associate Producer
By CHARLOTTE WINTERS
Produced by STACEY COOPER McMATH
January 6 – 24, 2004 at The 45th Street Theater
Directed by RIA COOPER
Sets HARRY C. ROSENBLUM
Lighting KEVIN J. HARDY
Sound ERIC DeARMON
Costumes KAY LEE
Dramaturg EMILY LONG
Press & Publicity BRADFORD LOURYK
Birgitte – Devon Berkshire
Lone – Erin Logemann
Heat – Blake Longacre
Margrethe – Jen Wineman
Founded in 2001, Studio 42 almost immediately garnered a reputation for being a young and hip downtown theater company. Hip, young, edgy and the rest are all nice adjectives, but down the line they do not mean much if there is no tenacity and talent to back up the kind phrases. Now, with the second play of the 2003-2004 season in production, it has become clear that Studio 42 has what it takes to stick around for a while to entertain us, surely, but also to continue to surprise us.
The season began with the November one-night-only benefit performance of THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK by Rob Grace. Directed by Devon Berkshire and featuring stand out performances by several company members, this whirlwind was every bit the event it promised to be. Now, in a tamer vein, the company has staged the world premiere of Charlotte Winters’ ANTICIPATING HEAT.
Set in Copenhagen, Denmark, and centered around two sisters and a cousin vying for the attentions of a most undeserving suitor, ANTICIPATING HEAT feels like drawing room comedy on Zoloft. The highs are within reach, the lows never hit bottom, and somehow we know from the very beginning that everyone will end up okay. Described by the company as "a contemporary Danish serio-comedy in the tradition of Chekhov," an analysis that surely leaves the audience anticipating more than it gets, the play is well served by the solidarity of the creative team.
Studio 42’s production of ANTICIPATING HEAT is a prime example of how the right cast and the right design team can elevate a play to a place beyond where the script would go left on its own. Not a bad play, but simply one that does not scream of interesting, unpredictable plot development, this rendition has enough good stuff to make it not only fun, but worth seeing. Then, this is what New York has come to expect from Studio 42.
The actors get the most credit for making this production of ANTICIPATING HEAT what it is. Devon Berkshire, always good, is effervescent and perfectly costumed in the scene-stealing role of Birgitte, a not-quite-right free spirit who appears just in time to set things awry. Jen Wineman, in a more subtle part as Birgitte’s sister, Margrethe, the glue that holds the family together, infuses her character with a self-consciously quiet, human center that feels honest, and never forced. The actress herself told me of the role, "She doesn’t know she’s funny, so when the audience reacts [with laughter] it is a surprise." No surprise here! Filling out the family, Erin Logemann plays cousin Lone, the ambitious editor, with the frenetic, yet controlled intensity called for. Finally, Blake Longacre as Heat, the writer and common love interest of the three women never seems worthy of the attention he attracts from them. A walking construct of what they individually imagine him to be, he is malleable, and seemingly without substance. He is anticipated. He never comes to fruition, but that is the point.
Not all it purports to be, but so much better than most, yes, ANTICIPATING HEAT is worth seeing. A play about people, and a play well acted is a play to be attended.
- Kessa De Santis -