by Marcina Zaccaria
Three performers explore the quiet thoughts that exist when almost no one is watching in Inner Voices at The TBG Theatre.
The evening began with Just One “Q.” What makes it special is T. Oliver Reid’s sense of storytelling. His frankness and ability to inhabit the characters, bring an old-fashioned charm to the world of Arkansas. While it’s not a riveting story, it is charming invitation to a drama in an old folk’s home around a scrabble game. With Musical Direction and Orchestrations by Andrew Resnick, Just One “Q” shows off T. Oliver Reid’s smooth voice. It would be great to see T. Oliver Reid in a more challenging work with dramatic immediacy.
Nancy Anderson is in fine form in The Pen, an astonishing character drama. Her head voice sails above, creating pleasant musical phrasing beyond the scattered, repetitive world of compulsive Laura. As she takes up spray bottles against the threat of a purple pen, she dreams of her early years in Milwaukee and Chicago. It was an easier life with her father. Now, on her fifth job, she finds that she is always late, worrying about every detail in her home, searching for missing or contaminated items.
The Pen shows no sign of making the audience laugh, as we watch Laura, just at the edge of sanity. Nancy Anderson has a stunning range as a musical theater artist. Making expressive gestures, she contains the scratching, knowing feeling that something is wrong. Margot Bordelon directs a well-crafted drama, with words by Dan Collins. If Laura could only find the key to get out or escape, her anxieties might find a way beyond perfectionism.
In the last performance of the evening, The Booty Call, Michael Thurber plays a 28 year old club musician, wishing he could find some love. Thoughts don’t rage out of control in this carefully controlled world. With words by Saheem Ali, and music and words by Michael Thurber, a sort of mating call is performed in a teal t-shirt and plaid shorts.
The sound of smooth jazz, mixed with a hip hop feel, has never been so fresh. A beat boxer with a flare for independent stylings, Thurber carries his intimate feel to new levels—he effortlessly adds drum kit and guitar to vocal composition. Director Saheem Ali keeps it real. The clean spaces in the first two pieces are muddied by the intentionally messy, The Booty Call. In this laid-back, funkadelic groove track, the space that is filled and inhabited (with excellent lights for The TBG Theatre), is tranquil and refreshing.
Inner Voices. Through opens on October 29 at The TBG Theatre (312 West 36th Street, between Eighth & Ninth Avenues). www.premieresnyc.org
Photos: Carol Rosegg