Go See This Play (Please)

Though we here at This Way To The Egress review theater, it’s not so often we simply promote it (especially when tonight is ‘Mexican Food for Musical Theater,’ for our own upcoming production.  But this play’s too good to be missed:

As I said hello to a few old acquaintances and settled into my seat next to my brunching friend Sunday afternoon at Playwright Horizon’s Peter J. Sharp Theater, I was both excited and a bit apprehensive.  Sure, I thought the play would be quality work, because I knew so many of the talents involved and had been watching their work for years, but also a bit worried because…  gee, well, what if it wasn’t?

“How do you remember all those lines?”  “Well, you did it again!”  “There are no words…”  How many times, in a decade of seeing so (so) much off- and off-off- and off-off-off- theater had I uttered those phrases (and ,yes, heard them parroted back to me)?  Now, gentle blog reader, please take a moment and think of the last time you saw an original play (for me it was the Tony-award winning Red, which was phenomenal).  And the time before that (for me it was the Tony-nominated In The Next Room, which was atrocious).  And the time before that.  Outside of a musical with hum-able tunes, is there anything harder in the world of show-business than mounting a well-done production of an original play?

When the lights went up after the coda, I knew I had seen something thrilling, something real, something funny and weird and heartfelt and scary.  Something that had walked a tricky artistic tightrope–  and not fallen off.

The play is In God’s Hat, and the theater company is Apothecary.  It features some old friends whose collected studies and work culminates in this production– Tom Pelphrey, Rhett Rossi and Dennis Flanagan— and is directed by a true unsung director of the NYC theater scene, Kevin Kittle.  (A tip of the hat also has to go to Apothecary’s Sean Renfro.)

One reviewer (in a rave) astutely likened it to a bit of Sam Shepard, and back to that moment of fear:  I think a genuine scare is the hardest thing to stage (it simply seems to be an emotion the intimacy of movies is better suited to), but this production features one, and I had to go way back– to the Deborah Warner / Fiona Shaw Medea— to think of the last time I was scared as an audience member.  And that’s Medea.

This new play (and its accompanying top-notch production) is laugh-out-loud funny, profane, intimate and difficult.  In other words, it’s real theater.  It’s on 42nd Street’s Theater Row through August 7th, and the information’s here.  If you care about theater–  about well written plays, about emerging companies, about actors who are honing their chops and productions that are pulling it off outside of the Broad-WAY glare– do yourself a favor and check it out.  Bravo to all involved.

And as a friend, it was nice to not have to ‘stretch the truth’ after the show or during this blog post.


One Response to “Go See This Play (Please)”

  1. “In God’s Hat” « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] God’s Hat” By thiswaytotheegress Yes, it’s rare that I use the blog twice to shill for a play I have no involvement in, but hey, it’s my damn […]

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