By DON NIGRO
Pantheon Theater, 303 W. 42 St., NYC, May 6 – 29, 2004
Directed by JOHN DiFUSCO
Sound DAVID B. MARLING
Sets PAULA GARRŇN LOPEZ
Scenic Artist THOMAS HARLON
Lighting JOE MORRISSEY
Co-Stage Managers MAI-LINH DeVIRGILIO & GABRIEL GARCIA
Press Representative JOE TRENTACOSTA, SPRINGER ASSOCIATES
Anna – Francesca Nina O’Keefe
Post – Jim Thalman
Set in a sad hotel room in an anonymous war ravaged city, Don Nigro’s one-act play, NECROPOLIS, is a scene study on the futility of interminable war and the way it seeps into the otherwise mundane details of daily life. Not quite introducing a dead city, as the title implies, we find ourselves in a place, like so many around the world, populated by people who will eventually cause the annihilation of their own citizenry, and thereby turn the once teeming streets into a mass graveyard. Ambitious ideas are in the ether here, to be certain. Unfortunately, they are only ever hinted at.
What could be a symphony is but a snippet, yet it resonates as food for thought. Divorced journalist Post has a one nighter with local Anna, or so it seems. As NECROPOLIS quickly reveals, Anna is not the sexy, seductive native at all. She is a complex and conflicted sniper, and her moral compass is as arbitrary and affected by circumstance as anybody’s. For, when people are killing one another on the street, who is right, who is wrong, and who really has the right to say?
Seeing as this play is running in a post-9/11 New York City just as revelations about United States military abuse of Iraqi prisoners is international news, the complete lack of resolution in a play like NECROPOLIS seems beside the point. To be sure, there is no absolute right and wrong to attach to when pondering current events. So, if I feel dissatisfied with Don Nigro’s creation, I suspect it is partly out of a deeply felt frustration with the things all about us. Still, we, the collective audience, come to the theater for the escapist possibilities, and I feel that it only common courtesy for the playwright to offer an ending, even if it is a debatable one.
So, I did not hate NECROPOLIS, and I did not especially care for it either. Perhaps it is the play. Perhaps it is the fact that I hate the need for it, the notion that it resonates based on current affairs, and the truth it so blatantly reveals.
- Kessa De Santis -