Thursday, October 23, 2008

Harm's Way (45th Street Theater)

BOTTOM LINE: Powerful, Intriguing, Sorrowful….GO SEE THIS PLAY!

Circus Theatricals is a theater company that produces thought-provoking and important work. Harm's Way has it all: an intriguing story, an extremely strong ensemble of actors, smart playwriting, and flawless direction. The play deals with many subjects including the complexity and hypocrisy of war, incest, loss, corruption, and familial dysfunction; army prosecutor Major Jonathan Fredericks investigates possible war crimes committed by U.S. troops against Iraqi civilians while trying to take care of his “simple” and troubled daughter.

All of playwright Shem Bitterman’s characters are compelling and well-developed. Jack Stehlin is perfectly cast as the sorrowful and tough Major Jonathan Fredericks. Wendy Makkena keenly comprehends her complex character, reporter Constance Durrell. Ben Bowen simultaneously plays Private Nick Granville with sweet innocence and pernicious danger. Sarah Foret conveys the purity and emotional intelligence of the Bianca Fredericks beautifully.

Roger Bellon’s original music really added to the tone of the play. Bellon’s transition music between scenes, juxtaposed with Zuckerman’s seamless set changes, makes the journey of the play flow effortlessly. Derrick McDaniel’s brilliant lighting design is complete with an ambulance light in the back of the audience to reinforce the feeling of the tragedy that has just occurred.

Not only would I recommend this play, I would also recommend the companion play running in rep, I have not seen it yet but I have that much confidence in Circus Theatricals. Also, tickets are only $18.

(Harm's Way and run in rotating repertory until November 9th at The 45th Street Theatre, 354 West 45th Street between 8th and 9th Aves. Visit for a complete performance schedule. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling 212.352.3101.)

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