Theater and Concert Reviews.
by ROBERT MASSIMI 2 years ago in REVIEW A Deep Thinker's Play Beloved by The Scandinavian American Production Company is being performed at The Lion Theater, a small, intimate theater that is perfect for this production. It is a one act, 90 minute show that is a women cast (Elllinor Dilorenzo) who is extraordinary in her role as Katerina, a bored woman who wants more.
The show begins with the lights of the house still on. The doors are still open for late comers. DiLorenzo is now on stage packing cloths, climbing a built in ladder to her apartment, picking up books and throwing them down onto the floor to a loud thud. She climbs back down, packs the books and more clothes. As the audience talks to one another, not really paying attention, I began to wonder, what is this? In all the shows that I have seen, this is new ( the only thing that came close to this was Sean Penn in Slab Boys). This continued for a few more minutes at which time I knew that me and the audience were in for a wild ride. I buckled in as the house lights dimmed and the doors closed. The lights went down a little and Katerina began to speak to us. She talks about time, she goes on about the importance of time, what you think, what you say; time cleanses the truth; there are no rules; embrace your feelings. She goes on to say "that I love books." She names some of the very deep writers of all time; it signifies that she is for real as a reader. Schopenhauer and Descartes are thrown around. She talks about her live-in boyfriend whom her parents like, Matteus. He is a fork lift driver and likes what he does. She works at a food court, hates it, and calls in on the radio to win tickets. She has won a variety of things in the past, but this time she wins Opera tickets, to which she goes with Matteus. This Opera changes her life. She realizes watching it so intently, while Matteus slept, that there is a whole world out there and that she was clueless toward it. She was so self conscious about it that she bought classical CD's. She was able to get hired as a secretary at the Classical Hall. She even took classes at night to improve upon her German.
She tells the audience that she blames her mom for not giving her an awareness of the classics. She says with bitterness that her mom was a Maoist Commie, who spoke about the people. Dilorenzo begins to raise her voice quoting her mom, "It's about the people, the people!" How devastated her mom was when Mao killed so many of China's people, how it shattered her illusions. She tells the audience how Roc Maddaoff made her happy. It made her happy. She is able at this point to start understanding the music. She meets Adam, the conductor of the orchestra. She is in awe of him. She sits after work and watches them rehearse. She feels the music from her soul and she "finally feels worthy." Matteus, she says, "does not understand." Music to her is above all else. Adam is in his 30s and is considered a rising star. He is married and has one child.
The next scene we see, Katerina angry and packing again. She has been invited by Adam to take notes during rehearsals and they would both discuss the notes after the rehearsal. The music lead to talking about life. He would drive her home on occasion to Mahler's music. He eventually makes a pass at her which she turns down. Adam becomes cold. The writer (Lisa Langseth) paints a really good story in her dialogue about this being a "crystal clear moment in her life." Eventually, she gives in and he has her. It was a sacred moment to her. Adam was a musical genius to her. It was a true love experience. Matteus was just a nice guy, an ordinary guy. The orchestra began to talk to them—she was a whore. She does not care, she loves him. They continue on the affair. She tells Matteus about it, he wants to know who it is, she tells him, he then throws her out. She fades deeper into the music, and Matteus threatens Adam. Katerina goes to live with her grandmother. Adam supports her. This is where I had a problem with the piece. The show and the writer do not explain if she was fired or not. The writer should have made this more clear.
In the end, Katerina realizes after Adam's second child that he really did not love her, something the audience knew from the start. We sympathized with her foolishness from the start. We welcomed her love for music and the great writers but we saw that she was a young girl out of her elements. We saw this train wreak coming an hour before the show's conclusion.
Beloved was a thinkers play. It was deep but you had to go deeper to understand this dark play. To understand, this play let you escape for 90 minutes into this person's life completely. Both the set design (Lisa Renee Jordan) and the lighting (Evan Kerr) really enhanced this play. The sound effects in the rain and the different moods that Kerr used with the lights were amazing.
Bring your intellect and your imagination to the Lion Theater and go see it.
Lion Theater, Rachmaninoff, Matteus, Evan Kerr, Sean Penn, Slab Boys, German, China, Descartes, Theater Row, NYC, NY. Off Broadway.