by PAUL KODIAK
December 13 – 30, 2012
Roy Arias Stages 300 West 43rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, NYC
Director/Producer DANTE GIAMMARCO
Stage Manager/Communications Director J DOMENIC DeMURO
Associate Director PETER DE MAIO
Technical Director/Set and Light Design ERICH LOETTERLE
Original Songs MICHAEL PATRICK SHARKEY, FRED SADGE
Publicity SCOTTI RHODES
Dante Giammarco – Father Keating
J Domenic DeMuro – Jimmy
James Caceres – Angel
THE MESSENGER is a view into the final hour in the life of death row inmate, Jimmy. The drama, without any bells and whistles, and presented in real time, voices opposing opinions about the value of a condemned life through the words and actions of prison guard, Angel, and a visiting priest, Father Keating.
Set in a cell on death row, the design of the production is appropriately stark and silent. Angel appears periodically to announce how many minutes are left before Jimmy will be escorted to the execution chamber, but is offstage for much of the hour, which focuses primarily on the meeting between Jimmy and Father Keating.
In the course of THE MESSENGER, Father Keating desperately entreats an initially silent Jimmy to give his last confession. Where Angel taunts the prisoner and seems to relish in the impending execution, Father Keating forgives, even after a raging, dangerous Jimmy attacks him. As Father Keating seems to grow ever more desperate to save Jimmy’s soul by receiving his confession, the prisoner, repeatedly advising the priest that it is "time management" cajoles and manipulates Father Keating into actions that are unconventional, but that serve the dramatic purpose of narrowing the gap between what could have been merely archetypal saint versus sinner characterizations of these two men.
J Domenic DeMuro’s portrayal of Jimmy presents a man who is vicious and seemingly proud of it. The counterpoint to Dante Giammarco’s vulnerable Father Keating gives the play substance, as only a man who has a belief in a higher power that could redeem a character like Jimmy would tolerate and engage him with compassion. James Caceres as Angel comes across much as one would expect. He has no use for Jimmy, and thinks the priest is wasting his time.
Paul Kodiak’s THE MESSENGER is playing through December 30th. Though not an uplifting topic, the taut production presents a solid hour of tense drama.
- Kessa De Santis -