by Susan Hasho
Village, My Home is a part of The Dream Up Festival presented at Theater for A New City.
The citizens of this slice of an unnamed town are expressive and mostly frustrated. They pass by center stage in this production and let us in on pieces of their lives. It is,in fact, inspired by Greenwich Village with its rich smattering of artists of all ages and types, business people, housewives and tourists.
The play opens with Middle Aged Woman (Frances McGarry) describing the sights and sounds of her home. Old Woman (Marjorie Conn) then describes her Yoga class experience. Yoga class exercises, breathing techniques searching for enlightenment, interspersed then with a Middle Aged Man’s (Michael C. O’Day) despair that the dharma and karma add up to nothing. Computer Geek (Sean Evans) puts in his two cents and a 26-year-old (Kelsey Shapira) shares her job frustration─she’s bored and wants to know she’s worth something. AND “I hate New Year’s Eve,” says the Middle Aged Man. Through it all, the technocracy is shaking up everyone’s idea of home.
The Out of Towner (Christina Ashby) finds the lights and the action thrilling, the Native (Catherine Luciani) wants to run.
Toward the middle of the play the Middle Aged Woman says, “And just messages, messages every day. What I need is a refreshment of the spirit. What I need is my entire department moving together. I need fewer dis-educated college grads, and more spiritualists from time past.”
The great thing about writer/director Marcina Zaccaria’s reportage is its humor, a kind of affronted snarky humor that lies at the center of dislocation. The world is changing fast and it’s inconvenient and dispiriting to young and old alike. But what echoes consistently is the phrase, does it matter, will it matter. Does a human being have consequence? But really, the question is: Do we have a place anymore.
The ending of the play circles around the final point beautifully. The two old women verbally tag each other: “When I look ahead, and I see the Village that is my home, I see a very special place. And I don’t see the stress of your panic. I don’t see your need for technology. I don’t see the endless struggle every day of one thing taking out the next.” And the second old woman (Madalyn McKay) adds, “The Village is my home and it is in me.” And the Middle Aged woman ends the play with, “And I know everything that I put there.”
These actors move in and out, flowing like a modern dance piece and fill out their moments with meaning and verve. The movement is clear with a great sense of life in constant motion and change. The Middle Aged Woman played by Frances McGarry anchors the piece with authority and her passionate complaints also provide humor. Other players are Maria de Lourdes Severny, Meagan Adawe McLeod, Jeff Burchfield, Stephanie Roseman, Rebecca Geneve and Maile Souza.
Theater for A New City Performances will run; Tuesday, August 29 at 9PM; Thursday, August 31 at 9PM; Friday, September 1 at 9PM; Saturday, September 2 at 2PM; and Sunday, September 3 at 8PM at the Theater for the New City on 155 First Avenue in Manhattan. Tickets are available at SmartTix.com.