Thursday, May 07, 2015

New Rep Theatre Presents The World Premiere of "Scenes From An Adultery" by Ronan Noone - Through May 17 at Arsenal Center for the Arts

New Rep Theatre closes its 2014-2015 season with the World Premiere of Ronan Noone's play, "Scenes From An Adultery."  Fresh from his success in seeing his play, "Second Girl," produced by the Huntington Theatre, in this new play, Mr. Noone wades into the deep waters of marriage and fidelity and rumor mongering.  I was not sure what to expect, but knowing the playwright's work, I was pretty sure that I would be entertained and challenged.  I was not disappointed.

The set, designed by Janie E. Howland, doubles as a home and as a pub.  It also includes luminous panels hung upstage that change colors as the intensity of the emotions  among the three characters in the play wax and wane. There is a husband and wife, Tony and Lisa and their close friend, Gasper. Tony and Gasper begin to discuss the possibility that another one of their friends may be having an affair.  They eventually also begin to suspect that the friend's wife may also be having an affair.  The plot because complex and convoluted when Lisa wants to know what Tony and Gasper have been talking about.  Tony must decide how much to tell his wife, since the other couple are close friends, and Lisa sees the suspected wife often.  Discussions of adulteries - real and imagined - dominate much of the dialogue.  Tony finds that he is "damned if he does and damned if he doesn't" with regard to sharing information with Lisa.  When he withholds knowledge to protect his friend, Lisa feels betrayed.  When Tony tells Lisa what he knows and suspects, she blames the messenger..There is also the question of how much good friends should confide in one another.

The play succeeds on many levels.  The writing is crisp and captivating, with sharp dialogue and plausible plot twists.  The three actors are directed with a steady hand by Bridget Kathleen O'Leary. Costumes are by Molly Trainer, Lighting by Christopher Brusberg and Sound by David Remedios.

The trio of actors are well cast in their roles.  Ciaran Crawford as Gasper has wild and unruly hair which sends a strong message about how he views the world and lives his life.  He makes himself at home in the house where Tony and Lisa live - not always with favorable results for the three-way friendship.  The actor creates a powerful presence and we feel as if we have a good handle on who this man is.  Peter Stray portrays Tony as a man caught in the middle of dynamics he does not always understand and can almost never bring under control.  His role is less flamboyant than that of Gasper, but no less compelling. Leda Uberbacher brings an energy and credibility to the role of Lisa that is very convincing.  The three-way interactions among the characters sparkle, as do the various pairings of Gasper-Tony, Gasper-Lisa, Tony-Lisa.

Ciaran Crawford as Gasper
 Peter Stray as Tony
Leda Uberbacher, as Lisa
Scenes From An Adultery"
by Ronan None
New Rep Theatre
Through May 17

The complex plot can best be understood by quoting a line that is offered late in the play as things begin to fall apart and Tony and Gasper are analyzing what has happened. The quotation has to do with the legend of the extinct and mythological WooWoo bird: "It would fly around in ever decreasing circles, until finally it flew up its own arse and disappeared."

This play is well worth seeing and discussing.  There are two more weekends of performance at the Watertown Center for the Arts.  HOw about an outing to the theater for Mother's Day?

New Rep Website



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