Goes and Brian Murray† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††photos by Maria Baranova
by Eugene Paul
is who James, (Anthony J. Goes) becomes when heís channeling.† Channelers are
those rare creatures who fascinate us by their capacity to go into trance
states in order to contact individuals who have lived other lives in the past.†
James had been doing this ever since he was a child and got bumped on the
head.† He and his waste- not- want- not mother earned a living going around the
country giving sťances until the authorities stepped in, incarcerated ma and
delivered James into the eager care of professor Williston (Brian Murray) who
has been chronicling the awesome powers of his charge ever since .They, too,
have been living on the proceeds of sťances but somehow, now, itís all right.
that Professor Williston does not handle money very well, leading to conflict.
James, who appears to be somewhat older than most students and quite able to
handle his own affairs is furious because Professor Williston has not paid his
tuition fees at Jamesís college and James has been dumped.† Why this situation
should ever have occurred is hazy; rather does it appear that Professor
Williston is in need of care. But playwright Mat Schaffer does not enlighten us
about this or any other details of their living arrangements, intent as he is
to get channeling; however,† donít expect Simon to clarify anything when once†
heís been† exhorted into our presence.
Britting , Brian Murray & Anthony J. Goes
Annie (Vanessa Britting), attractive, troubled, not the prospective client
Williston had anticipated but it phases him not a whit. He delivers his mantra:
ďThere are no accidentsĒ. Everything is ordained. Annie is inflamed. Sheís
there to get an explanation for the car accident which killed her husband as
well as her unborn child. Which causes us also to conjecture: is there nothing
new under the sun? Playwright Schaffer is not exactly laying new ground here.
J. Goes & Vanessa Britting
all have been sadly numbed, inured by having heard Annieís timeworn lament too
many times. He seems to wish us toward his channeling theme as quickly as
possible, even to keeping outward bound James present by discovering that he
and Annie had an aunt with the same name, hence James his changing his mind and
staying. To channel.
director Myriam Cyr makes of this is Ė hash.† Although most of the hash is
right there in the play.† She simply has not been able to convince her actors
into being convincing, especially once James becomes Simon.† Brian Murray,
skates by all of it quite nicely, observing intently as the deeply concerned
professor but Anthony Goes, as James turned into Simon has been given no help
or the wrong help trying to convey Simon to us and itís vital that he does so
because playwright Schafferís lecture on trance states has not found the drama
he assumes is inherent in just mentioning channeling. He depends on the
mysticism of Simonís summoning which lighting designer John Malinowski
underscores very nicely.† Goes, in spite of splendidly athletic twitchings, and
contortions seems as unconvinced as we are that he is really in that other
world of Simonís brought before aghast Annie and spellbound Williston.
find you are not caring enough about their relationships, you have not been
swept into anything resembling an orbit of electrifying emotional involvement.
Do not be surprised you continue to question the goings on in Professor
Willistonís charmingly messy living room (thank you, designer Janie Howland).
You realize you are not involved.† You are questioning the machinations of the
play, the machinations of the performances, the comfort of your seat, the way
James goes into and out of his trance states and you question why James behaves
the way he does as Simon when as James he can be a reasonably good facsimile of
a human being. If this is how mediums act in a trance state, give it up.
Because it is not compelling, it is repelling.
other worldly hook does not always work, not if itís not fresh. Not if itís not
fully grounded in reality.† Itís the realness of the unreal that captivates, in
life and on the stage. There are accidents.† Viz and to wit.
the Lynne Redgrave Theater, 45 Bleecker Street.† Tickets: $30-$65. 95 Min. thru