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Monday, June 22, 2009

Review- Wait of the World (Planet Connections Festivity)

The Fab Marquee review by David Stallings.

Planet Connections Festivity still continues downtown. And now is the best time to see theater, with part of your proceeds guaranteed to be donated to charity.

Out of the hundreds of Off-Off Broadway productions in the past few years—only a handful of directors come to mind who have as much vision, voice, and vitality as Jeremy Bloom. His direction of Peter Dagger’s Wait of the World is no exception. With pure innovation Bloom takes a simple script, some found objects, a few light bulbs, and creates pure magic.

Harry Einhorn (Adam Moody) | photo credit: Tim Vienckowski

The plot is a kind of fairy tale, told by a group of Astronomy students in a lab. When one of their professors does not come in, they are left to read through her notebook and relive a twenty year journey of discovery that has led to her decision to abandon her life and seek out her own destiny. The missing Doctor (Jenny Checchia) has discovered that the overwhelming amount of natural catastrophes in the world may be due to the birth of one boy who rules the weather. Linked to ancient Mayan prophesy, the end of the world has been predicted for 2012, when this young man will send the Earth hurtling into the sun. The young man in question, Adam Moody (Harry Einhorn), has no control over his abilities. With every emotional upheaval, a hurricane or typhoon devastates a nation. The weight of this bears down upon Adam making him literally sink into the Earth. His Mother (Joyce Miller) does her best to ease Adam’s torment, but only finding true love can assuage Adam’s disastrous power. The world’s destruction is put on hold for a brief moment when he finds this comfort in a young woman. But Adam’s fierce devotion to his beloved scares her away. The Earth has been thrust back on a terrifying path (doomsday now set for 2013), and the advice the play leaves us with is to no longer wait, accept the world’s weight, and live the next four years as if they were our last.

Any awkwardness or corniness this story could bear are wiped away by Bloom’s astute direction. His imaginative staging and the innocence of the young performers are a breath of fresh air. Even the most pretentious theatre critic will smile and accept when Adam’s girlfriend is represented by a blue light bulb. And when Adam’s mother describes the relationship, she hangs pictures from a string. The pictures represent the relationship in a simple and understated way. What makes moments like this special is that Bloom does not allow his actors to indicate them—or wink at the audience as they do them. They move through the moments naturally, creating their own reality for an hour.

All of the actors delivered fine performances, telling the fable with reverence and devotion. One can only marvel at the synchronicity of the complicated staging when combined with dialogue, given the short amount of time provided to get used to a space in a festival environment. All minor fumbles are forgiven when actors pick back up with as much confidence as this troupe embodies. Joyce Miller (Mother) stands out in a lovely way. Her ease, genuine spirit, and simplicity on the stage make her an actress one should watch for in the future. Harry Einhorn also deserves a nod for his honesty as the stricken Adam.

Peter Dagger’s script falters at times, primarily in its opening moments when more realistic dialogue is required. The students’ first conversation about Astrology seems a bit hokey and forced. But once the magical realism begins with the story, all awkwardness subsides. Dagger’s strength is in his blend of poetry with storytelling.

This sixty-minute one-act is guaranteed to leave you smiling. I strongly urge you to catch this unique theatre experience and embrace your inner child. With only a week left to the festival, this is a piece you do not want to miss.

Wait of the World is benefiting the Gynecological Cancer Foundation.

Planet Connections Festivity
Peter and Matt's Production Company present
Peter Dagger's
Wait of the World
June 13-27, 2009
Robert Moss Theatre

Tickets are $18. For tickets, schedule and more information on Planet Connections Theatre Festivitiy, visit

Robert Moss Theatre | 440 Studios, 440 Lafayette, 3rd Fl | Manhattan.

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