BY Crystal Rodriguez
“Who wants to be in the previews their whole life? No Calvary or sunset…just expectations”.
The Spring Reading Festival 2011 has fused with the Uptown Artstroll. Many walked into the theatre yesterday with rolled up Artstroll pamphlets in their hands and others were festival regulars.
Who knows how many times these theatre enthusiasts have graced the walls of the cathedral theatre but upon setting foot on it scarlet carpet, everyone’s chins raised to admire the gold patterning.
The setting for the reading of Man in Boat could have not been more spectacular. Their voices carried across the rows of velvet seating and filled the dome ceiling with Kimberly Barrante’s profound words.
Young Daniel opened the play. He dragged a crate to the center microphone, and stood confidently, staring straight into the audience through his red curls and cowboy hat.
The display was beautiful, as the readers came up one by one, or in twos to speak, standing in a backdrop of sky blue and yellow curtains.
The audience watched memorized. No one moved for what seemed like the entire play. The audience became a chorus of laughter when Frank, Daniel’s father, made a sarcastic comment or a chorus of sighs when older Daniel grew hopeless.
“It must have been hard for him…pretending to be a grown up all the time”.
Barrante’s words came to life with the rises and rolls of each character’s voice. The cowboy’s accent was ruff and tuff. Marilyn Monroe’s voice was sweet and ditsy.
The Cowboy described sitting on the very top of a Ferris wheel, feeling tall and like “the world was coming at you”. One could see the Ferris wheel perfectly: standing taller then all the trees, illuminated by bulbous white carnival lights and each cart swaying in the wind but frozen in time.
The Peoples Theatre Project out did themselves. This was the first time Man in a Boat was read to an audience because PTP had all the plays written new for their festival.
To hear something for the very first time is a special privilege and a gift. The audience was appreciative and thanked them with enthusiastic clapping.
The last play of the festival, The Chalkboard Trilogy, will be performed at The Inwood Public Library, June 11th at 2pm.
For more info: www.PeoplesTheatreProject.org