1-2-3 MANHUNT - at Theater for the New City
Last Edit: singleticket 02:51 pm EDT 10/15/21
Posted by: singleticket 02:50 pm EDT 10/15/21

Disclaimer: I am a friend of a the playwright.

A Manhattan slice of life play set on a rooftop by playwright Tony DiMurro. The rooftop is the former childhood haunt of Alex (played by the remarkable Santo Fazio as a tornado-like force of nature) who has seen his neighborhood change through gentrification to where it is no longer recognizable. As Alex unleashes the rage that is driving him to a possible suicide we slowly begin to piece together his past that turned Alex into such a destructive force. And we watch as that rage, echoing and ricocheting off of the other characters in the play, takes on a life of its own in creating its own path of destruction.

The director William Roudebush, a member of the Actors Studio, creates a space for Santo Fazio to perform a high wire act of sustained explosive emotional force yet Roudebush also finds a way for the ensemble performers to come into their own. Some of the ensemble performers are less skilled than others but by the production's end I felt that I had seen fully realized and affecting performances that served the play well. The production is also filled with deft, unobtrusive but telling details that give us a window into the lives of the characters.

I can nitpick with some aspects of the play. It might benefit from some cuts. DiMurro has structured his play so that the deep motivations of his characters become clear only towards the end of the play. That's a different dramatic beast than a play that makes its characters' motivations clear from the beginning which is usually the play that audiences come into a theater expecting. Yet at its conclusion DiMurro's play reaches a tremendous power as it taps into the heartbreak of its main character, a heartbreak that feels resonantly of the American moment.

1-2-3 MANHUNT reminded me of how intense and deeply affecting small scale theater on a small budget can be.

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