Graham & Frost, part of the 3rd Annual Festival of Irish Theatre, seems unfinished, as if the author, Belinda McKeon is letting us in on work from her sketchbooks.  It might take you, as it did me, into a rereading of Aristotle’s Poetics–I wanted to think further on the play’s action, which is open to debate (you might also feel that there is a second act to be written).  The actors have set pieces to work around–such as a tumbrella drum or a butcher’s knife (which is overly used as a threatening device)–but the play is still mostly verbal and needs to find its linearity and physical fluidity.  Set in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, three men make plans for the reopening of a restaurant, although their motivations are not always apparent.  Two are young, the future of a trendy neighborhood: an American cook (Dan Shaked) and an Italian, the inheritor of the property (Enrico Ciotti).  Steven Randazzo, as the older, Italian-American character, Benny, is a reminder of the struggles before gentrification.  The actor gives a textbook example of how to show grief on the stage toward the end of the play, covering his face with his hands: it works every time. McKeon offers insight into Pirandello and Ibsen, and the looseness of the script and production allow the show a rehearsal quality. Thomas G. Waites directs.     


© 2010 by Bob Shuman


What happens when one self throws the shutters up on another?

Three men from very different walks of life set about reopening an abandoned restaurant in the old Italian section of Williamsburg.  Each of these men has a stake in the old place, and each of them has something from which they want to hide.  Behind the dusty storefront’s still-shuttered door, they will not allow one another to escape as they are forced to face the secrets and the fears which stalk them all.

By turns funny, poignant and stark, this is a story about the complexities of calling a place home.

“A sharp, true and quite eviscerating new play from Belinda McKeon, the highly-respected young Irish writer; Arthur Miller might have been happy to have orchestrated its humane and subtle ironies.” -Sebastian Barry, Irish playwright, novelist, and poet

Cast includes Enrico Ciotti, Steven Randazzo, Dan Shaked

Playing at: Performance Space 122

Opening: Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Closing: Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Directed by: Thomas G. Waites

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