Thursday, June 22, 2006

Americana Absurdum: 06/22/2006

I first saw the second act of Brian Parks’ Americana Absurdum, “Wolverine Dream”, performed in the late 90’s at Todo con Nada on Ludlow Street. A few years later it was performed, as Americana Absurdum, with its first act, “Vomit & Roses”, as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at the Present Company’s space, Theatorium, in the heart of the Fringe Festival (and the Lower East Side). Flash forward to 2006, and American Absurdum is back and being performed at PS122, with many of its original cast members. Americana Absurdum is still a brilliantly written, hilarious play. But, boy has the world changed. Nada is gone, Theatorium is gone, for that matter the World Trade Center is gone – and while there is still not a false note in Americana Absurdum and it’s messages of corporate greed, a corrupt legal system and misplaced American priorities are still completely valid, the play now seems almost innocent. Original cast members David Calvitto, Nancy Walsh and Jody Lambert are still spot-on and precisely execute John Clancy’s intricate staging. Newcomer Eva van Dok in two important roles is outstanding. My only quibble with the production as it stands now it that the cast may be delivering their lines in a little too rapid-fire-quick manner for audiences who are seeing the play for the first time. But that is minor compared to my longing for the days in which all we had to worry about were the huge issues in Parks’ play.

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