Goodbye.410 
Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart, by the Australian dramatist Lally Katz and directed by Oliver Butler, has been brought to New York by Mark Armstrong and The Production Company as part of a cultural exchange of “challenging new work” from the U.S. and Oz.  Katz’s play, written in code (we hear about avalanche dwellers and suicides and the need to migrate from MySpace New York), also blurs the line between real and cyber landscapes (the work reminded me of a Web site called Second Life, where members are asked to assume avatars and live out their fantasies).  It might, additionally, be the kind of play which does best as a film—Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart seems to want to grab a camera and roam the streets of the dirty city (you’ll also feel its apocalyptic darkness will appeal to cinema artists who loved the Blade Runner movie and the different film grades of Sex, Lies, and Videotape).  At the downtown theatre Here, where the show is playing, the tone is hip and trendy, dark and dangerous, even if the look of a high-tech, sci-fi world is sacrificed.  For all the work’s allusions to death and the end of everything, however, the plot stays targeted on a conventional girl-loses-boy romance. Katz’s structuring and playwriting are sensible and straightforward, as is her central character, Caroline (Nicolle Brandford), who is homesick for her more natural life back in Australia. I couldn’t help thinking it wouldn’t have hurt if the playwright ramped up the danger and sex, let her main character be too human rather than strong, but I think part of the point is that the new generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings are dealing with life from worlds only as deep as computer screens. Best in Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart is when the bullying ex-boyfriend (Brian Robert Burns) shows up—here’s where the actors have the most to dig into; you’ll also love Katz’s way with her quirky young women, for example, the neurotic owners of the failing gluten-free restaurant where Caroline works.

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For those who can’t get back to Australia in the next few weeks, or to their country of origin or of decent, a decidedly non-electronic holiday gathering is taking place at Irish Repertory Theatre—it’s of interest especially to people of Celtic lineage.  A Child’s Christmas in Wales in Concert, based on Dylan Thomas’s short story–about the “little world” of a traditional Christmas with goose and mince, aunts and uncles, children and cats–makes an appropriate background for favorite carols and good cheer—it’s been well adapted and directed by Charlotte Moore.  You’ll be reminded of what a beautiful song “The Holly and the Ivy” is and enjoy the high spirits of “I Saw Three Ships.”  I know it’s blasphemy, but I’m not really one for “Silent Night,” probably from overkill at this time of year.  Here, I liked it. You’ll also hear secular standards, including, “White Christmas,””It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,”  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”  In another sense, if the show feels like a homecoming, it may be because you’ve  seen several of the actors involved in the production in your theatregoing over the years—I can recall watching Victoria Mallory, for example in 1973, when she played Anne, the virgin bride, in the original cast of A Little Night Music.  There she sang Sondheim’s classic “Every Day a Little Death,” but you may know her from West Side Story or Follies . . . well, her credits go on and on.  Most probably, you’ll also have run into Simon Jones (The Real Thing, Benefactors to start) and Martin Vidnovic (Baby and Brigadoon and more) over the years.  Kerry Conte, Ashley Robinson, and John Bell are performers to keep track of, too.  For people ready to unplug the Christmas machinery, here’s a simple, yet festive, way to get into the holiday spirit.   

© 2010 by Bob Shuman

GOODBYE NEW YORK, GOODBYE HEART: Pictured Polly Lee (Miss Jacklyn), Nicolle Bradford (Caroline). Photograph by Rick Ngoc Ho.

A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES IN CONCERT: Pictured (left-right): Martin Vidnovic, Simon Jones, Victoria Mallory, musical director John Bell, Ashley Robinson, Kerry Conte at Irish Repertory Theatre (Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg)

GOODBYE NEW YORK, GOODBYE HEART
by Lally Katz
Directed by Oliver Butler

@ HERE Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue, NYC

December 2-21, 2010
Preview: Dec. 1; Opening: Dec. 2
Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:30pm
Sundays at 4pm

Tickets: $25
Call (212) 352-3101
or buy tickets online!

What does it mean to be "alive" when we spend our lives in virtual worlds? In Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart, Lally Katz plunges us into a phantasmagorical yet oh-so-recognizable cyber-universe where the living and the dead jostle, time doesn’t pass, and food never seems to fill you up. You can download almost anything — even emotions — and the dead still live, but you can’t bring them back to the real world… or can you? Caroline, a real live young woman, falls for a suicidal prophet who lives in a virtual simulacrum of New York that’s about to come crashing down like a house of cards. Can she go Orpheus one better and write her own happy ending? Or will she get stuck in a fragile virtual world with the rest of the seekers of the impossible? Along Caroline’s emotional journey through love and loss on the edge of reality, Katz offers some intriguing new, up-to-the-minute answers to the question: What happens when we die?

*******

The Irish Repertory Theatre continues its 23rd Season with Dylan

Thomas's holiday classic

A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES

Adapted and Directed by Charlotte Moore.

Limited Run! Performances through January 2 Only!

The Ensemble of A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES

Martin Vidnovic, Victoria Mallory, Simon Jones, musical director John Bell, Ashley Robinson and Kerry Conte. 

A thousand starry lights will envelop the stage in The Irish Repertory Theatre's re-invention of Dylan Thomas's A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES – set to open December 12 at The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street). Charlotte Moore, who recently helmed ERNEST IN LOVE, THE IRISH…AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY and WHITE WOMAN STREET at Irish Rep and a concert version of BRIGADOON on Broadway, directs.  

The iconic piece, starring both Irish Repertory favorites and Broadway veterans, features both traditional and contemporary Christmas music interwoven within the classic story of the famous snowy Christmas Day in Wales. Kerry Conte and Ashley Robinson star along with Broadway favorites: Victoria Mallory, Martin Vidnovic, and Simon Jones. Musical Direction is by John Bell.

A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES features costume design by David Toser and lighting design by Mary Jo Dondlinger. Production Stage Manager is April A. Kline; Assistant Stage Manager is Naomi Anhorn.

A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES runs December 8-January 2 (opening December 12), at The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues): Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm; plus 3pm matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (with the following exceptions: added 8pm performances on Tuesday, December 21 and 28; 3pm matinee on Friday, December 24; no 8pm performance on Christmas Eve; no performance Saturday, December 25; and no 3pm matinee on Saturday, January 1). Tickets are $55 and $65, and are available by calling 212-727-2737 or online at www.irishrep.org.

For more information about Irish Rep, call 212-727-2737 or visit

www.irishrep.org

Visit Stage Voices Publishing: http://www.stagevoices.com/

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