Every couple of years, the theatre company Premieres commissions three sung monologues. The writers are given no limitations in terms of content or theme. The latest three monologues, Inner Voices 2018, display a remarkable range of styles, voices, and content. Two are terrific; the third less so. But all are worth seeing, and it's a unique evening in the theatre.
The first show of the evening, Window Treatment, was my favorite. Farah Alvin plays a kind of sweet stalker who is in love with a man who lives across the way. He doesn't have curtains, and she watches him, lovingly and creepily, with binoculars. She has also followed him in the real world, but has never spoken to him. Written by Deborah Zoe Laufer (words) and Daniel Green (music), the show is stuffed full of psychological insight and humor. Alvin's performance makes the most of her amazing voice, excellent acting, and heartfelt clowning. It's a real treat.
The second show of the evening, The Costume, by Daniel Zaitchik, features a young boy who is facing three challenges: having a highly depressed mother, caring for an injured pigeon, and lacking a costume for Halloween. Beautifully performed by Finn Douglas, the show allows us to experience moments of growth in the boy's development with a gentle, lovely touch.
The last show, Scaffolding, by Jeff Blumenkrantz, is the one I found least successful. In it, a woman tells us about her son and their relationship. And that's the problem, for me: she tells us. In Window Treatment, we see the woman's craziness in action; in The Costume, we witness the young boy's emotional struggle. But in Scaffolding, starring Rebecca Luker, we only hear about what she's been through.
The flexible and effective scenery is designed by Reid Thompson, the moody and attractive lighting is by Aaron Spivey, and the subtle sound is by Sean Hagerty.
I must admit that I wasn't that interested in seeing Inner Voices. I'm not a monologue enthusiast. But one friend said it was wonderful and another friend wanted to go, so I gave it a chance. I'm extremely glad I did.
(third row, press ticket)