Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Grand Concourse

What we have here is one of the most realistic and naturally constructed plays I have seen in a long while.  Heidi Schreck writes like people speak, and think, and wonder.  Kip Fagan has done a marvelous job at "keeping it real" on the stage.  Playwrights Horizons presents yet another  provocative, thought provoking discussion pieces on the small stage upstairs.

Shelly (Quincy Tyler Bernstine) is a soup kitchen manager struggling with God and religion.  Emma (Ismenia Mendes) strolls into her life and turns it upside down - or perhaps you'll think right side up by the end).  Ms. Bernstine is magnificent in her struggles and in her overall performance.  Bobby Moreno, Oscar, a relatively young, talented, and often type-cast janitor, turns in yet another solid and loving performance.  Lee Wilkof (Frog) brightens up the room with his infectious attitude, despite his deep troubles.

Performed without an intermission this 1h:40m production never ceases to entertain and keep your attention.  The characters are provocative, interesting, and quite real.  The title comes from that famous road up in the Bronx where a soup kitchen of no specific identify exists.  The characters aren't made up and in fancy costumes.  The set is a simple, slightly run-down kitchen and the action occurs in several vignettes always coming back to Shelley praying or rather trying to pray at the microwave.

This production has teamed up with City Harvest (soup kitchen in play - food rescue organization - a great pairing) to collect and I assume "rescue" some of the food and vegetables used on stage each night.  Drama for both the soul and the stomach.  Not bad for a Tuesday night at the theatre.