Monday, October 15, 2007

A View From 151st Street

photo: Monique Carboni

There's a compelling authenticity in this new play by Bob Glaudini (presented by LAByrinth, in residency at The Public): you believe that the Gulf War vet crack addict, the rapper drug dealer, the Spanish Harlem schoolteacher, and everyone else in this play would say the things that they do and you believe how they say them. That credibility goes a long way to mitigate the play's frustrating structure (we spend way too much time with the drug dealer whose raps, musicalized by an on-stage jazz trio, add too little to the narrative) and its disappointing ending, which seems a pedestrian wrap-up to a story that often takes unexpected turns. Despite these problems, the play is well worth seeing for its slice-of-life credibility and its sincerity: the relationship at the heart of the play, between a Narcotics cop who recovers from a gunshot wound and his war buddy who recovers from crack addiction, is believably depicted and quietly affecting.

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