Small Pond Entertainment

presents

PROPS

By MICHAEL RODERICK

The Jewel Box Theatre, 312 W. 36 St., 4th Floor, NYC

July 17 – August 5, 2006

 

Part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival July 17 – August 6

Visit www.midtownfestival.org for details

 

Directed by MOIRA K. COSTIGAN

Original Music Composed & Performed by WILLIAM DEMANIOW

Choreographer CARLA FAZIO

Makeup Design LEETAL PLATT

Lighting Design TIM CRYAN

Stage Manager ISA ABNEY

Publicity SCOTTI RHODES

Cast

Amy Lerner – Melissa

Corey Ann Haydu – Kerri

Jennifer Boehm – Susan

Leigh Poulos – Denise

Ben Sumrall - Andrew

As the action begins in PROPS, a participant in the Seventh Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival, it seems like the audience is in store for something a little bit edgy, and decidedly low-budget, but definitely artsy. Low lighting, overlapping dialogue delivered with the addition of lit matches, blown out, perhaps to heighten the effect of the lines being delivered about dissolving relationships, all characterize the more stylistic moments of the production.

It becomes clear rather quickly that PROPS is yet another in a lengthening line of inanimate object come to life love stories. The problem with his one is that, once the "big reveal" is disclosed at the end, the story that has preceded makes little to no sense at all. Up until that point, what does unfold is a tale of a man named Andrew who, unable to settle comfortably with any of the women in his life (Melissa, Susan and Denise), finds himself falling in love with a puppet that he has been hired to create. In Andrew’s mind, or perhaps in real life, the puppet, Kerri, is brought to life by the power of his love. What does not quite work even with this part of the story is that Andrew’s friends and/or former lovers are continuously drawn back to him. As written and performed, he is not a likeable or sympathetic character. What does gel is that he would need the relative comfort of the one-dimensional love of a puppet. Obviously, he cannot deal with flesh and blood interaction. The actors try hard to work with the material, and in the end all of the characters feel like props within PROPS, which they are meant to, but not in the most successful way.

PROPS is being performed in the Jewel Box Theatre at Abingdon Arts Center. This is a space so small, it is almost unbelievable that anything but a monologue is staged there. Yet, here we find PROPS, a five character play, that has not only action, but choreography. Not a great piece, but the sort of artistic endeavor that often finds an audience at theater festivals.

- Kessa De Santis -

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