nytheatre.com review by Kelly McAllister
What if, in the near future, New York leased all
its landmarks to corporate interests? That is the basic premise of East
River’s current production of Alison Weiss’ The Statue, now
playing at the Bank Street Theatre. It’s a good question, and a funny
idea. In the play, Lady Liberty has been transformed into an
ultra-trendy restaurant, one of those velvet rope snoot factories where
the huddled masses are denied access. All is going well for the place,
until a visit from the dreaded Landmark Commission occurs. I won’t say
any more about the plot or I will give too much away.
August 15, 2003
Weiss' script works fairly well—I laughed, and thought about the premise and how close to reality it is, which is what I think is the intention of the production. Helping this clever script along is the direction by Sasha Sagn, adding odd bits of what future culture might be like, including beaming chips to send information. There is also a bit with French accents in the beginning that I found quite funny. The cast is of mixed degrees of talent and/or training. At times, there were problems with some of the actors’ diction, and at other times I couldn’t hear what was being said. Sadly, one of the worst examples of this was Weiss herself, who plays Eve, the snooty manager/hostess of the restaurant. Granted, it was a twelve o’clock matinee, and the show’s opening performance, but I would think that of all the people who want the text heard, nobody would be more clear than the playwright. Salvatore Brienik, in a few smaller roles, makes good mileage out of his time on stage. The standout in the show is William DePaolo, who plays Howard, the bright representative of the city’s Landmark Commission, and the only character in the play who seems to know what the world was like fifty years earlier. The moment DePaolo hit the stage, the audience leaned into the show. He exudes warmth, intelligence, and humor—all with an ease I found invigorating.
All in all, I enjoyed the show, and hope that East River Productions develops it further.