42 BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP • MAY 13 - MAY 19, 2016 “New Group/New works” tours all borouGhs An ambitious theatrical production is visiting all five boroughs. It exposes the harsh realities of physical abuse and its accompanying emotional confusion. The venues are citywide campuses including Brooklyn College. The program is developed and presented under the auspices of the New Group/New Works project. Entitled “The Sensuality Party,” this drama is anything but a party. In it, six students meet in a dorm room and experiment with their mixed gender att r a c t i o n s and self-images. During the “party,” a violent act triggers different and disquieting efforts as the students cope with what they’ve seen and done. Director Danya Taymor’s cast emerges from the audience to surprise and inform us. Their casual verbal profanities and sexual revelations are not completely unexpected from college age experimenters. Soon though, we realize there is a much deeper and more sinister problem. The first character, named “Speaker,” is played by Jake Horowitz. He succeeds in holding our attention for a very lengthy narrative filled with hundreds of expletives and sexual descriptions. Other characters who have been sitting in the large circle of desks, chairs and sofas tell their stories as well. Their unsettling fantasies and troubling interactions are revealed as part of a bigger issue, that is, the long simmering behavior unleashed by the violent attack of September 11. Equally troubling are the bizarre effects of the Internet on otherwise “good” people. The characters are well played by Catherine Combs, Jeff Cuttler, Katherine Folk-Sullivan, Layla Khoshnoudi and Rowan Vickers. They are masters of paradoxical subtlety and abrupt surp r i s e . We are first drawn in by the matterof fact manner in which they describe their fears and fetishes. Then we’re verbally assaulted by their unmistakably violent message. The impact has grown from a whimper to a roar. Well done! Following the performance, an intense panel discussion is held. Members include playwright Justin Kuritzkes and a representative from R.A.I.N.N. (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). The insightful interchange asks whether sexual violence has become normalized in the shadows of the Internet and the fall of the twin towers. Have we become bad people or do we just think bad thoughts? Are we irreversibly numb to serious violence? The future is up to us. For information on this and future projects, call 718-951- 5000, surf to thenewgroup.org or depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/ theater. As always, save me a seat on the aisle. Photo courtesy of Hunter Canning A scene from “The Sensuality Party.” “radium Now” is pure gold at brooklyn College Schann Mobley and Adama Jackson in “Radium Now.” BY Cliff Kasden An eerie contrast exists between radium scientists Marie Curie and her husband Pierre. Just compare them to the modern educational software company Nest. It’s science versus sentiments in the world premiere of “Radium Now” by Kate Benson at Brooklyn College. Marie Curie (powerfully portrayed by Jenna Zafiropoulos) enters “upstage.” She’s dressed in early 20th century garb (costume design by Jeannipher Pacheco). The famed Nobel-winning scientist speaks directly to the audience, uninterrupted. Her monologue reveals a personality that values intellect above emotions. On the other hand, the harried workers at Nest speak only to each other. They are overwhelmed and sabotaged by their undisciplined feelings. Throughout the play these two different, yet somehow intermingled worlds share the relentless consequences triggered by an unforgiving universe. As the play progresses, an extremely detailed office set (design by Joe Burkard) with functional computers and running water clashes with dream sequences that utilize “radioactive” props that glow blue. Zafiropoulos’ character is mesmerizing. She describes her beloved husband Pierre (Joseph Masi). Their marriage is a well-balanced equation of love and learning. She describes his disastrous death in a not surprisingly scientific manner. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn College Her own death, which she also describes dispassionately, is no less tragic. Director Christina Roussos’ characters at Nest are busy, busy and busy but what do they accomplish? They play at science with little intellectual substance. Somehow, though, we are keenly interested in the outcomes of their lives. Ruby (Adama Jackson) seems scatterbrained but may have a much more solid persona. Violet (Tanyamaria McFarlane) is so happy that she bursts into a dance at the office. But the “Girl from Anchorage” (Renee Floresca) will not make things easy for her. The boss is Rosemary (Schann Mobley). Her swagger lets us know she is in charge but the concrete results at her company are not impressive. The chief financial officer, George (Drew Morris), is extremely ineffective when juggling monthly bills but very successful in more physical matters. At play’s end, the troupe has shown outstanding consistency with well-acted performances. Yes, they’ve convinced us that everything, large or small is a struggle between order and chaos. Well done! Kudos as well to behind-thescenes support from Karim Rivera Rosado, Edrick Subervi, Michael Raine, David Irving and Sophia Leewah. For information on this and future productions, call the box office at 718-951- 4500 or check depthome.brooklyn. cuny.edu/theater/. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.
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