Also see John's review of See Jane Run!
The action takes place in a modest butcher shop. The stark tile walls are wet with the blood of slaughtered animals which hang from hooks from the ceiling. The set speaks of the violence just outside the doors of the shop in which the youngest brother Khalid works.
Khalid (Abdiel Gabriel) is visited by his older brother Na'im (Nick Duckart), a rebel who lives in hiding in the mountains. Na'im arrives with the news that their oldest brother, Daoud (Carlos Orizondo), is suspected of conspiring with the Israeli forces. Daoud, who works in Tel Aviv as a dish washer, is on his way to the butcher shop that night to see Khalid. With Daoud unknowingly facing possible torture and death, Na'im has come to extract the truth from Daoud and save him from himself, if he can. The dynamics of politics vs. family play out with as secrets are revealed.
Nick Duckart completely inhabits the character of Na'im. He is grounded and confident, with each moment connected to to the next, and each interaction connected to his fellow actors. Carlos Orizondo plays the tension his character provides for all it's worth. There is a genuine feeling that the words spill out against his will as he is progressively pressured to reveal more of his tale. There is such strength in the relationship between actors Duckart and Orizondo that Gabriel comes off less seasoned an actor by comparison. Some of that is in the youthful writing of the character of Khalid. Some of it is in missed intensity in his reactions to what is happening between the other two brothers, and with his accent being the least consistent. Despite this minor flaw, Joseph Adler has beautifully cast and directed this thought provoking and powerfully acted production.
Masked will be appearing at The GableStage through July 31, 2011. The GableStage is located in the eastern section of the Biltmore Hotel, at 1200 Anastasia Avenue, in Coral Gables, Florida. Valet parking is available, or free parking is available in the Biltmore parking area west of the hotel. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. For tickets and information you may reach them at 305-445-1119 or online at www.GablesStage.org. The GableStage, formerly known as the Florida Shakespeare Theatre, is a professional theatre presenting classic and contemporary theatre year round. They are members of the Theatre League of South Florida, the Florida Cultural Alliance, the Theatre Communications Group, SouthFloridaTheatre.com and the Dade Cultural Alliance. The GableStage hires local and non-local Equity and non-union actors and actresses, and is involved with the educational community in promoting educational theatre programs.
*Indicates a member of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.
Photo: George Schiavone