Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side

pied pipers

Photo: Larry Cobra

Playwright Derek Ahonen has a finely tuned ear for the way his Communist-Anarchist-Environmentalist heroes and heroines talk. The play skewers their free-love and pop-psychology platitudes, while loving the characters to death at the same time. I say "the play" because while Mr. Ahonen may be responsible for the dialogue, the Amoralists truly are, as their mission statement proclaims, an "actor driven" company. It feels as if these actors were born to play these parts. The play is a perfect whole -- not for a second is the theatrical spell broken.  And somehow the political and moral message survives all the mockery. Each member of this outstanding cast can dominate the stage in one way or another; together they're an ensemble of scary intensity, one minute boiling in anger, the next erupting in crazed funnyness, yet always, in their overcooked way, seeming to truly love one another. In the end they send us reeling into the street feeling provoked, enlivened, even a little bit enlightened.

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