Commissioned by the 2020 Humana Pageant of New American Performs on the Actors Theatre of Louisville, The place the Mountain Meets the Sea by Haitian-American author Jeff Augustin is now enjoying a restricted engagement with Manhattan Theatre Membership at New York Metropolis Heart. The unassuming however affecting manufacturing combines segments of direct-address storytelling interspersed with emotionally expressive folks songs to observe the paths of an immigrant father and his now grownup son on a quest to attach with one another, which they notice too late that they need to have executed sooner.
Offered in an experimental non-linear format, the Haitian-born father Jean recounts recollections of his dwelling nation, then tells of the momentous street journey he produced from Miami to California. His reminiscences alternate with these of his homosexual son Jonah, making the identical journey in reverse years later, to gather his father’s ashes to return them to Haiti, and to higher perceive Jean’s life journey. Each share the defining experiences that they had en route and the individuals they beloved alongside the best way, together with Jonah’s late mom, in an intimate examination of their two disparate lives and the variations they didn’t talk about that stored them aside.
Directed by Joshua Kahan Brody, the actors, with hand-held mics, transfer to numerous factors across the stage to inform their tales, or sit quietly reflecting when the opposite one is talking, with out ever having a dialog or bodily interplay whereas relaying their particular person remembrances. Billy Eugene Jones as Jean is extra sturdy in tone, sometimes breaking into tune and dance and delivering traces in his native Haitian Creole dialect. Chris Myers as Jonah is extra soft-spoken, pensive, and sweeter, revealing incidents of homophobia for the reason that age of 4, but in addition expressing moments of pleasure and happiness with the lads he met, together with a high-energy scene of dancing, joined by Shaun Bengson as his “ginger daddy.” Each are participating, delicate, and sympathetic as they travel of their respective monologues and in time, till they launch their internalized emotions and ideas, and discover widespread floor of their mutual consciousness and self-discovery.
The attractive sentiments of the lyrical manufacturing are echoed within the songs of the award-winning musical duo The Bengsons (the married couple Abigail and Shaun), who sing, play, and dwell loop their authentic folks compositions within the background and work together with the characters in just a few of the scenes, as they make their approach throughout nation and change into aware of the various areas of America. She impresses together with her extraordinary vocal vary, he along with his comically exuberant dance (motion by Steph Paul), each with their masterful musicianship. In contrast to a standard stage musical, the songs don’t advance the plot however improve it and underscore its moods.
An understated however evocative creative design additionally contributes effectively to the present’s clear and easy human significance. Costumes by Dominique Fawn Hill are typical of the characters’ generations and Ben Truppin-Brown’s sound is indicative of their recollections. Colourful lighting by Stacey Derosier modifications with the areas, occasions, and states of thoughts, and Arnulfo Maldonado’s bare-stage set of low concentric platforms earlier than a backdrop of mountains mirrored in reflecting panels on either side evokes each the titular panorama and the heartfelt remark that “each street is a circle” and “I’m turning round/So I can see your face once more.”
The place the Mountain Meets the Sea is a uniquely touching story of household, heritage, connection, and legacy, with a salient reminder to not delay your love, appreciation, communication, and empathy.
Working Time: Roughly 70 minutes, with out intermission.
The place the Mountain Meets the Sea performs by means of Sunday, November 27, 2022, at Manhattan Theatre Membership, acting at New York Metropolis Heart, Stage I, 131 West 55th Road, NYC. For tickets (priced at $79-99, together with charges), name (212) 581-1212, or go on-line. Masks should be worn always.