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GIANTS HAVE US IN THEIR BOOKS

nytheatre.com review by Matthew Freeman
August 15, 2002

Giants Have Us In Their Books, produced by Noontime Theatre, presents three deceptively difficult works. These plays, by playwright Jose Rivera (best known for Marisol), are adult fairy tales. While Noontime hits mostly the broadest strokes of these subtle works, there is much to admire in the undertaking.

The first of the three, Flowers, involves alarming changes in the complexion of the twelve-year-old Lulu. The play is brief, but features lovely poetry and a surprising journey. The staging is overly literal, but clear. As Lulu, the multitalented Amanda Pekoe has promise, but doesn’t get to show her wares: she pushes to "act twelve" and spends much of the play unseen. Christopher Lueck, as Lulu’s brother Beto, fares better here.

In the second piece, A Tiger In Central Park, a frustrated couple is preparing to trap an escaped Tiger whose presence has frightened the sex-drive out of New York’s citizens. As the couple, Katie Hartke and Christopher Kromer are uneven; Hartke seems more comfortable with the style. As an unlucky jogger, Leila Lopez shows spunk, but is difficult to hear. The writing of this piece is the strongest, though, and Lueck shows charisma as the predator in question.

The final piece, The Winged Man, opens with a killer image: A flashlight searches the stage, only to come across the bloody body of a fallen Angel. Daysi, played by the evening’s strongest actress Hillary Sinn, nurses and eventually makes love with this "Winged Man." The story follows her through her pregnancy, insisting that she is continuing the line of real (and rare) winged humans. This play never finds its stride: too many blackouts and listless speeches. Nonetheless it’s worth seeing Sinn’s expressive and charming work as the mother to be.

Not yet entirely confident, Noontime Theatre has contagious energy. Their choice of material bodes well for them: Giants Have Us In Their Books offers the rare treat of lesser-known works by an influential living writer.