Monday, August 18, 2008

III (The Cherry Lane Theatre)

BOTTOM LINE: intelligent, riveting, provocative
A first-rate production with three wonderful performances and a well written script that should not be missed.

So, the great thing about the Fringe Festival is that you are exposed to plays that you might not other wise have seen. Some are good and others, well, are not really so good. I did not plan on going to see III at The Cherry Lane Theatre. It just happened to be starting right after another show that I saw next door, so I thought I would stick around and check it out, and boy am I glad I did. It truly is a theatrical diamond in the rough. I was riveted from the moment the lights came up and think I will be hard pressed to see a better drama at this year's festival.

III tells the story of the real life fifteen year (1927-1943) relationship between acclaimed writer Glenway Wescott, MoMA curator Monroe Wheeler, and photographer George Platt Lynes. While this premise may seem scandalous, the author, Joe Salvatore, crafts a beautiful play using some material from letters written between these three men they struggle to define the meaning of family in an unconventional menage-a-trois of sorts. The story easily could have been sensationalized, but Salvatore manages to tell an almost wholesome account of what it means to be in love, be a part of a family, and what happens when emotions are stretched to their breaking point. This is truly first-rate theatre that rivals anything that you can see currently playing Off-Broadway or even on Broadway for that matter.

Salvatore does triple duty, not only writing this remarkable piece, but also smartly directing and appearing as Glenway Wescott in a heart-felt performance. John De Vecchio is superb as Monroe Wheeler, the man who decides to bring a third person into his relationship with Wescott and then must face the ramifications of this choice. Rounding out the powerhouse cast is the phenomenal Daryl Embry as the photographer George Platt Lynes who is off the charts fantastic as he tip toes through this rocky emotional terrain.

Needless to say, I LOVED this play. If you like good theatre (and who doesn't) I think you'll like III. Don't let the subject matter scare you. I would take my mother to see this show, and I know that she would like it too. It's not about sex, it's about a part of three men's lives that was kept hidden for years and makes for a really interesting night at the theatre. If I were you, I would see this play now while it only cost $15, because I think it has a really great chance of getting picked up for an extended commercial run here in New York. I know there is an audience for III and I hope that some producer will see just how good this play is and give it a permanent home here in New York so that everyone will have the privilege and pleasure of seeing this play.

III plays at The Cherry Lane Theatre located at 38 Commerce Street between 7th Ave and Hudson Street. Show times: Wednesday, August 20th at 4:15pm; Saturday, August 23rd at 7pm.
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