What a beautiful, musical, poetic, and totally unique performance.
By Carol Edger Germain
Mary Lou Newmark’s “Breathing Room,” directed by Dan Berkowitz and choreographed and produced by Gary Thomas at the charming and friendly Greenway Court Theatre, is in a class by itself. Hearing her play that beautiful, transparent but neon green trimmed, electric violin is such a treat in itself, but weaving it among the stories, poems, dance, and thought-provoking scenarios, she has given us a lovely, “mind-expanding” evening. Although the stories and themes may relate more to hectic modern times and issues, I found myself recalling the 60’s and 70’s, a time of connecting with nature, opening our minds, and trying to relate to the world around us in a different way.
There are just two actors/dancers who bring the work to life – Marilyn (Eileen T’Kaye), a visual artist, and the charismatic and mysterious science professor (Charles Reese), exploring the “technological vertigo” of modern culture (love that term – will be adopting and using it soon and frequently, I’m sure! It expresses perfectly what I feel daily as I’m bombarded with visuals of everyone being more in tune with their “devices” than their physical life). Both actors were perfect choices for their roles, each presenting their character totally in sync with the point of view and pace of the experience.
The play is done within the framework of a symphony – Act I, “Allegro,” has a upbeat tempo and introduces us to the themes of the symphony; Act II, “Andante,” slows us down, presents poetic dialogue at a pace that allows the audience to let their minds pull thoughts and feelings from their own experiences and weave those into the music, words, and action on the stage. Act III, “Minuet”, is lighter and quicker, Act IV, “Presto,” is frenzied, repetitious (in a good way!) and brings more control over the audience’s experience. Then the beautiful Coda, allowing us to dwell in the feelings brought to heart and mind by the performance. Several times throughout the evening I enjoyed the reaction I first felt during “Andante,” pulling in my own experience – sometimes from the slower pace and fewer words, sometimes from the staccato, repetitious phrases and action. I was enjoying my thoughts as provoked by various elements in the show, but also found myself wondering what was being evoked for others, as I found this performance to be quite personal. Even though much of it was based on Ms. Newmark’s personal thoughts and stories, it was abstract enough to allow the viewer to relate to it in their own way.
This performance is not to be missed. It really leaves an impression that keeps you thinking about it long after. There is nothing like it anywhere else, it is that unique. You have two more weeks to treat yourself, and I suggest you do!
Featuring: Mary Lou Newmark, Charles Reese, Eileen T’Kaye.
Written & Composed by Mary Lou Newmark.
Directed by Dan Berkowitz.
Produced & Stage Managed by Gary Thomas.
Greenway Court Theatre
544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036
• Oct. 3- Oct. 25
-Saturdays at 2 p.m.: Oct. 17, 24 (no matinee on Oct. 3)
-Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Oct. 17, 24
-Sundays at 7 p.m.: Oct. 18, 25
• Free on-site lot parking.
• General admission: $25 – Reserved seating: $35.
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