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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Review- Cinephilia (PossEble Theater Co.)

The Fab Marquee review by Amanda Stokes.

The New York premiere production of Cinephilia, presented by the PossEble Theater Company at The Studio Theatre at Theater Row, is an energetic and entertaining evening of theater. And although you may leave feeling the show hasn’t quite lived up to its potential, it is still a worthwhile ride.


The play centers around two young twenty-somethings, Arden (Katie Cappiello) and Johnny (Brandon Scott), who have been lovers for years – Arden wants a relationship, Johnny does not. These two deal with each other, and life, so it seems, through the world of movies – discussing, debating and non-stop quoting. This is a clever device by playwright Leslye Headland, which can be quite amusing for the audience. The characters spout out snippets from dozens of films – from Say Anything to Breathless, from Reds to Reality Bites – slipping in and out, blurring the line between movies and ‘real’ life. Of course, this is also their way of hiding, escaping; incapable of speaking their own thoughts, these are lost, lonely people who don’t seem to know who they are or what they want from life.

A similar statement might also be made about the play. We are presented with issues of inaction, obsession, denial – but it is unclear what exactly is being said. No one in this play seems to want to be honest about the way things really are, or to care about anyone but themselves, which can make it difficult at times for the audience to care about any of them. Luckily, there is well-written dialogue, plenty of comedy and above-average acting to keep us happily distracted, so we don’t bother to wonder where the play is going.

Brandon Scott gives a wonderfully subtle, true performance as the introverted Johnny. Katie Cappiello as Arden bounces deftly from hysterical freak-out to tearful stillness and back again. Rounding out the cast are Christian Durso as Johnny’s roommate, Plato, and Nila K Leigh as Natalie, Johnny’s new girlfriend, both of whom give capable and charming performances. The cast and director Michael Silverstone deserve praise for their proficient handling of the many comedic moments.


Silverstone has the actors using just about every inch of the set (designed by Daniel Zimmerman). The chaotic nature of the characters is reflected in the staging – dialogue, people, and even the occasional can of beer fly around Johnny’s apartment; but this sometimes feels forced and overdone – that rather than supporting the scene, the audience is being bombarded with this frenetic energy purely for the sake of energy. Perhaps this might not have been an issue if the script was tightened up a bit, cutting out some of the redundancies.

Cinephilia as a whole may ultimately fall short of the possibilities glimpsed in certain moments, but it leaves me looking forward to seeing more work from these artists in the future.

PossEble Theater Company presents
Leslye Headland’s
May 29-June 15, 2008 (Show is now closed)
The Studio Theater -Theatre Row

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