The Off-Broadway debut of Sandra at Winery Theatre launches its 40th season and marks the extremely anticipated reunion of playwright David Cale and director Leigh Silverman, the workforce from the a number of award-winning 2017 manufacturing of Harry Clarke, starring Billy Crudup. Whereas the brand new work, described as a “one-woman thriller,” follows the identical formulation as their earlier solo present, it lacks a believable plot, plausible habits, and a reputable conclusion, rendering it unlikely, unsatisfying, and fewer than thrilling.
The direct-address narrative follows the reckless journey of the titular character, who owns and operates a café in Brooklyn, is separated from her husband of 13 years, and is attempting unsuccessfully to keep away from alcohol. When her finest good friend Ethan, a homosexual pianist and composer (who gifted her a CD of his unique music for “an imaginary film entitled Sandra,” with a drawing of her wading within the sea on the quilt), doesn’t return from a visit to Mexico, she decides to fly to Puerto Vallarta – alone, greater than as soon as – to resolve the thriller of his disappearance. There she discovers that two different younger homosexual males went lacking in Cozumel, strikes up conversations with suspicious strangers, and engages in an affair with one in every of them – a good-looking hard-drinking Italian named Luca. Regardless of the risks she encounters and the threats she receives by way of her novice investigation and subsequent courtroom testimony, she illogically persists out of affection and concern for her “simpatico” BFF and, amazingly, lives to inform the unbelievable story and its dream ending.
Beneath Silverman’s path, Marjan Neshat’s recitative portrayal of Sandra holds our consideration however appears too mild and emotionally underdeveloped for a lady knowingly and repeatedly putting herself at excessive threat, in a efficiency punctuated by girlish accounts of Luca’s enchantment and their sexual escapades, histrionic facial expressions, and eye rolls. She’s at her most expressive when imitating the accents of the worldwide characters she re-enacts, from the American South to Italian, Mexican, and Australian (vocal teaching by Kate Wilson), as she strikes across the stage or sits within the sole centrally positioned chair that her husband left when he eliminated all the things else from their condo.
For a self-described “thriller,” probably the most gripping scenes are those who counsel a film-noir sensibility, as created by the top-notch design workforce. Thom Weaver’s evocative temper lighting shifts in colour and depth with the locales Sandra describes and completely captures the blackness of the night time and the menacing conditions by which she locations herself, with lengthy rays of directed spotlights that illuminate her within the darkness and solid ominous shadows. Sound by Kathy Ruvuna helps the conditions and heightens the emotion, and unique music composed by Matthew Dean Marsh performs a big function in defining the lacking Ethan and the totally different segments of Sandra’s narrative. Rachel Hauck’s set is minimal and confining, with the chair positioned between two free-standing aspect partitions with giant home windows and deteriorating plaster on the patterned again wall, and the one costume by Lindo Cho is obvious and easy; each assist us perceive why the character desires of affection, journey, a brand new life, and a cheerful ending.
Working Time: Roughly 80 minutes, with out intermission.
Sandra performs by way of Sunday, December 11, 2022, on the Winery Theatre, 108 East 15th Avenue, NYC. For tickets (priced at $37.80-85.32, together with charges), name the field workplace at (212) 353-0303, or go on-line. Masks are now not required within the constructing.