29th Street Rep & Darren Lee Cole
HIDING BEHIND COMETS
By BRIAN DYKSTRA
29th Street rep, 212 W. 29 St., NYC
February 10 – April 17, 2005
Directed by DAVID MOGENTALE
Set Design MARK SYMCZAK
Light Design DOUGLAS COX
Sound Design/Composer TIM CRAMER
Production Stage Manager WALTER GUZMAN
Fight/Special Effects Design J. DAVID BRIMMER
Press Representative KAREN GRECO
Erin – Amber Gallery
Troy – Robert Mollohan
Honey – Moira MacDonald
Cole – Dan Moran
29th Street Rep is renowned for gritty, even violent performances that, while edgy, are always works of quality. The reputation continues with Brian Dykstra’s HIDING BEHIND COMETS. I usually associate Mr. Dykstra’s writing with comedy and political satire, and there is humor in this play as well, but overall this is a dark and even brutal portrait of one night in a small California town. Especially eerie because the scenario, while not quite ordinary or even realistic, plays with the authenticity of a film noir style nightmare, showcases the author’s gift for creating intense characters and situations.
I would not have expected this, but HIDING BEHIND COMETS, a play that initially masquerades as a simple tale of a twin brother and sister passing a shift in their daddy’s bar before a party, is all about biology, religion, sex, the bogeyman and Jim Jones’ People’s Church. Here the bad guy is called Cole, and as played by Dan Moran, he is one creepy mother-f****er. Matching him toe-to-toe is Honey, one of the twins, in a vital performance by Moira MacDonald. Close behind are brother, Troy (Robert Mollohan) and girlfriend, Erin (Amber Gallery). While Cole and Honey get the juiciest stage time, one of the notable aspects of the plot development is that all four of these characters is more than what they seem on the surface, and that even their seemingly mundane lives can be made to have the potential for a higher purpose given the right point of view. Here, finding the person out there who believes your life to be significant means playing a deadly game, and that is where danger seeps in and 29th Street Rep gets down to what they do so well.
It is obvious that the twenty-three plays David Mogentale has acted in at the Rep, as well as his other credits, have more than prepared him to make his directorial debut with HIDING BEHIND COMETS. He realizes the full potential of the written script on the living stage, and is only aided by the strong ensemble cast, the design team, and one pivotal special effect.
I hope that all but the faint of heart will choose to attend a performance of HIDING BEHIND COMETS based on the sheer, combined talent involved. It is a wonderful example of the type of pure, powerful, live performance that exists when all of the production elements are just right. It is also a reminder that intense theater need not be prurient, and that there is a particular art to telling tales about people and situations on the edge of society.
- Kessa De Santis -