Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Favorite Martian

A merry Mosey Christmas to drama queen Roxanne. Glad to see you broke a leg!

The following review courtesy of Robert Martinez:

It’s said that hopes and dreams never die – especially not during Christmas. If anything, hopes, dreams, and emotions of every stripe get amplified during the holidays. This can be euphoric, if your life is going swimmingly. But what if you’re living in dystopia? This is the theme explored in Don Arrup’s play, “Requiem for a Holiday Dreamer,” recently staged at Theatre 54’s Shetler Studio and produced by Falconer-Unheard Productions. The play, which takes place in a hospice for dying children, revolves around events set in motion by the protagonist Tupeg. Along the way Tupeg will be accused of child molestation, a plan for murder will be hatched, and a U.S. Marine will lose his pants.

Tupeg is longing is for a woman that he’s never stopped desiring over the years, a social worker at the hospice who feels nothing for him save revulsion. Having made a beeline to the hospice on hearing of her husband’s death, Tupeg isn’t exactly the most likable of characters. But, he is honest, and he does impress the one resident at the hospice who hasn’t left for the holidays, a wheelchair-bound girl named Mosey, with his honesty. Mosey, in turn, will impress Tupeg with her spiritedness, and her willingness to find the fun side of things despite the bad hand life has dealt her.

Tupeg’s honesty is also directed at his audience. Tupeg bridles at cities dying of neglect, mealy-mouthed public figures, and the emptiness of a population so caught up in its holiday shopping spree that it can’t be bothered to tend to the likes of people like Mosey. A certain emphatic opprobrium is reserved for those politicians who bray “Support our troops,” while doing nothing for them when they return home. The play is an angry indictment of hypocrisy in America, and of how that hypocrisy also gets magnified during the Christmas season.

There’s only a four-person cast, but the performances are first rate. Tupeg is played with forceful world-weariness by Mr. Arrup, while Roxanne Kapitsa plays Mosey with a spirited blend of childlike hopefulness and all-too-early cynicism. Patricia Aleman plays the part of She, the woman Tupeg longs after with passion and energy, but one wishes that her character had more depth, some more insight into her psyche that makes her rage understandable. Christian Carroll, as the Marine, brings pathos and gravity to the role, despite having taken the part on short notice.

If there’s a flaw to “Reqiuiem,” it’s that it sometimes gets a little too castigating. The dialogue holds up extremely well, but sometimes is weighed down by its own melancholy, with phrases like, “infinite darkness” emphasizing the despair the characters feel, though that despair is plain enough to see. Aside from this, Mr. Arrup has written a fine play that, in the end, does have a hopeful glint. The characters don’t all get what they want (except maybe for Mosey), but they find that on Christmas, sometimes, you do get what you need.

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