Yeah, her part is as ‘Young Woman’…The Hooker

Dead City RaptureLast night I had attended a friend’s off-off Broadway performance at a little theater called, Spoon.  I never heard of the spot either.  My colleague, Isis was in it.  A little background:

I’m that artsy chick that always has her pockets filled with bits of paper,  is oft seen with her head buried in a book or just randomly staring into space.  Isis is the one whom everybody likes, is easy to get along with and has an overwhelmingly bright personality.  Being the natural artistically inclined extroverts that we were, it was only natural that we’d come to know each other.  

When I first met Isis, I was enchanted by her sense of self.  She was always so dang aware of the things around her as if she knew that she would be going places and not just from behind her front-desk prison cell that caged all that restless energy.  Nope. Isis is a Queen and as such, is destined for greatness.  Her name bequeathed her.

It was no surprise to discover that Isis was indeed pursuing a career in the fine art of acting.  Quite a daunting task to be sure, but still one that I believe she can manage.  It is in Isis’s spirit.  She is a charmer, a disarmer and she got loves to dance…but that’s another story.  

The Spoon Theater, located a stone’s throw away from Times Square, is a small venue.  I had brought my sister along for some company, and was foolish enough to take the stairs to the fifth floor.  I had forgotten how walk-ups tire the legs as well as the resolve, but once we walked in, there was a welcoming air.  I often giggle to myself when I see these small troupes because there are such lovely nuances to them.  It’s like watching your best-friend doing “live” band performances from his garage. For example, as the young person who worked the ticket booth handed us our change from the cover charge, we couldn’t help but notice a jar that read, “Tip Jar” sitting right opposite the money box.  Right alongside was a sign written in black magic marker announcement that Wine was being served as well as Beer.  Eli joked that it catored not only to the rich but the poor.  But I kidded, “It was for the Greasers and the Soc’s.”  Where else can wine and beer be served together?  No, Britney Spear’s house doesn’t count.

The small theatre was a mite bigger than a bread-box.  There was a blue-hued light raining down on one of the four main characters of the one-act play known only as, “Young Man”.  As we entered, Young Man began to cough while crouched on a large table, playing a guitar.  There was a low mysterious guttoral sound coming from the sound-booth behind a few rows of seats thisclose together. Eli was already seated in the second row.  I had commented to Eli that I felt sorry for the actor who sounded like he was going to hack up a lung.  Then, I asked whether she thought if the actor was already in character or not.  Eli said, “The performance begins the minute people enter the room.”  Who knew?

Everyone in the audience waited as they watched the Young Man play his out-of-tune guitar and began perusing the room.  Beside Young Man was what looked like a fire-escape step ladder in front of a painted backdrop of a New York neighborhood.   To the right of the stage was a door with a chair propped right in front of it; one panel of the door was missing.  To the left were two wooden frames hanging from wires in the ceiling that had curtains covering two firgures who we hadn’t noticed had been standing there since we had walked in.  Random people speculated whether or not the legs belonged to anyone or, if it was just mannequins, because the room was too dark to tell. Suddenly, we heard deliberate footsteps coming down the main aisle…the play had begun.

The play is about a post-apocalytic city where women have to sell their bodies to survive…and pay the rent.  The world is overrun by rats and other vermin such as The Landlord who is not only a slum lord, but a pimp that attempts to tempt Young Man, using Young Woman.  Still, this example of Adam and Eve show that the world must change to rid the world of these non-innocents. 

Here’s a brief synopsis of what was great:

  • The dialogue was genuine and wonderfully delivered.  Funny even despite the apocalyptic concept.The acting of 3 people (my friend Isis included)
  • The subtleties like the use of a deck of cards: Joker (The Landlord’s view of Young Man), the King & Queen (views of the hero and heroine)
  • The death scene was really realistic…and sad.
  • The masturbation scene was realistic without being vulgar.
  • Isis’s fluidity on the stage is like a cat’s.  She seemed natural and used both sides of the stage.
  • The crown atop Young Woman’s head was a great symbol of the freedom she wants but is cleverly created with geisha hair clips.
  • Thankfully, the rats bring about hope.  Plays should always end with hope.

Now to the rough parts…

  • The makeup on Young Woman didn’t tie into Young Man.  It tied her more to The Landlords
  • Why didn’t The Landlord & The Landlady have these names in the script?  “2” and “3” aren’t sufficient
  • Why was The Landlady there?  I didn’t get her Shakespearean references and her line delivery was like watching paint dry.  No, wait!  Paint’s more interesting.  Was she the girlfriend of one of the other actors?  In that case, she should’ve played a tamborine or something.  That would’ve been better than giving her lines, ’cause: reading’s hard!
  • If they’re on the roof, how do the rats get there?
  • Isis has stage presence, but needs to work on her interaction with the other actors.  The character was too aloof as when Young Woman was planning on leaving with Young Man
  • Young Man’s afflictions were too varied: tuberculosis, drug addiction and the cold.  It just seemed like one too many.
  • Cursing.  It’s a common young writer pitfall.

Overall, the storyline was a little muddled, but it was thoroughly entertaining and promising from young actors.  In the end, Dead City Rapture was very much alive in the spirit of the artistic sensibility reminiscent of a simpler time before marketing, packaging and gentrification.  This is art for art’s sake and I say, it’s about time we get back to the love, man!

And to Isis, I’ll take a quote from Shakespeare and say, “To thine own self be true”. 

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About Lisa Perez

Lisa M. Perez is a published poet, editor, copywriter, public speaker and artist. The co-creator of the first ever ArtSpace in Jersey City, member of IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists), and administrator for an online Mail Art group, Lisa supports the arts and advocates for creativity. Her successful, Art Journal and "Notes from my Brain" series are ongoing projects that evolve with the artist. In addition to being an active blogger since 2005, Lisa scripts and edits copy for various online articles and videos. In September 2017, she was a guest-speaker and virtually chaired a YOGA Recovery meeting. In her spare time, Lisa studies, reads, and creates while maintaining a day job in a STEM field and being a full-time fur-mommy to her shih-tzu, Cher.
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