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Larry Littany Litt
The Singing Sphere
"The Singing Sphere" by Marie Glancy O’Shea
Directed by Ildiko Nemeth
New Stage Theatre Company
36 West 106th Street, NY NY
Reviewed April 20, 2023 by Larry Littany Litt
L-R: Sam Flynn, Lisa Giobbi, Gina Bonati. Photo by Nonoka Sipos Judit.
Seven women stuck in a purgatoryesque bardo are waiting to be assigned to either their own heaven or hell of their making. Each had a place in the corporal world but now they are as lost as a beached jellyfish on a Florida beach. Roasting in the sun but not quite melted yet.
There’s so much to say. Who’s listening? Perhaps no one. Perhaps the all the universe. The words are so important because they prove existence at a sometimes low and sometimes high level. The bardo waiting room is like a circus with many actors performing simultaneously. You don’t know who to listen to first, second, last. All the conversations begin to blend into one show. None of the women can account for their sinful passage to this clearly ominous place. Now it’s home, Now it’s a battlefield. Now it’s a comforting therapy. It changes as the women reveal their angst.
Marie Glancy O’Shea asks the question, “What makes women different from men and from each other?” The profound answer is they’re not so different. The ethereal actor Sam Flynn emotes about transformations that can be both physical and spiritual. It’s Gina Bonati who brings to the bardo a humanistic presence with motherly compassion and down to earth humor.
Brilliantly sequinned actor-singer Sonia Villani brings color and high energy sparks to the bardo. She singlehandedly turns the black mourning clothes of the six women into a center of fireworks and possibilities for a different life. But alas to no avail. The profound sadness of language sweeps over the women like a net over fish at sea.
Adding to the chaos and mayhem of the bardo’s parnoia comes a television shock interviewer seeking a dramatic personal story to report to...whom? Michelle Best metaphorically scares the panties off the women who don’t want to be glamorized for their sins. The bardo is no place for antagonism or provocative acts.
Danielle Aziza, Sonia Villani, Lisa Giobbi. Photo by Nonoka Sipos Judit.
Lisa Giobbi and Danielle Aziza give outstanding performances with their physical theater movements and dance. Tatyana Kot mirrors them with quotidian notions of movement in a simpler less verbal world.
All this is made palatable and possible by director Ildiko Nemeth. Her signature style of ensemble directing once again creates a profound world on stage.
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