Ma-Yi Theater Company
Jorge Z. Ortell, Executive Director * Ralph B. Peña, Artistic Director
SIDES: THE FEAR IS REAL
By Mr. Miyagi’s Theatre Company
Review based on the run at: P.S. 122, 150 First Ave., NYC, April 7 – May 1, 2005
Playing at The Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St., NYC August 18 - October 30, 2005
Tickets: (212) 307-4100 or www.ticketmaster.com
Directed by ANNE KAUFFMAN
Scenic Design DAVID KORINS
Lighting Design JOHN-PAUL SZCZEPANSKI
Costume Design ELIZABETH FLAUTO
Sound Design JAMIE McELHINNEY
Production Stage Manager KAREN HERGESHEIMER
Press Representative SAM RUDY MEDIA RELATIONS
Sekiya Billman – Cindy Cheung – Paul H. Juhn
Peter Kim – Hoon Lee – Rodney To
SIDES: THE FEAR IS REAL is an absolute delight. It is a masterful blend of real situations brought to full potential by a combination of good writing and polished comedic instincts. It is full of inside jokes that are accessible to an outsider. Best of all, it is a comedy that does not disappoint. This is laugh-a-minute theater, with no apologies for existing just for the sake of fun.
The seemingly cryptic title, SIDES: THE FEAR IS REAL, is the first of the industry inside jokes. "Sides" refers to a partial script handed to a performer at an audition. This play is all about that, actors at auditions, and what silly scenes they are. Asian cultural stereotypes are addressed, as is bad Shakespeare, overly eager casting directors, the many, many ways to read for the same role, and the unexpected expectations faced at a call-back.
This comedy works so well because all of the elements have fallen neatly into place. Of course, the scripted SIDES is full of great moments, but without a cast to realize the humor, and a director to guide the scenes, all could be lost. Happily, exactly the opposite occurs, ensuring a good time is had by all. The actors are all gifted comedians, the direction is fluid, the set and costumes are good. All is right in the world, until the fear sets in, and that is when things get funny.
If you do not laugh during SIDES: THE FEAR IS REAL, then you have no sense of humor. This play goes for the gags and has the goods to back up the expectation of an audience in virtual stitches. Were it a weekly variety show, I would suggest returning again and again.
- Kessa De Santis -