Monday, January 28, 2008

Save the World - January 24, 2008

Premiering Chris Kipiniak's first play aptly entitled Save The World is a thematically perfect choice for the wonderful Roundtable Ensemble, a not-for-profit theater company whose mission is to bring theater to undeserved audiences. Roundtable attempts to "save the world", one audience member at a time, by offering the experience of live theater to people who would otherwise not have the option.

Save the World is an ambitious attempt to bring the comic book genre to life. There is a fine line to walk while attempting this the many attempts to successfully transfer comics to blockbuster movies proves every summer. Transferring the comic book medium to the live theater is an even more difficult and delicate endeavor. In the hands of Michael Barakiva and his talented cast, for the most part Save the World succeeds. There are moments where monologues go a bit too long, or actors require more volume or diction - especially important in a play like this where we are absorbing huge amounts of exposition. But despite these minor points, the actors are all game to play the parts of super heroes and/or super villains and there are moments that are incredibly impressive. The slow motion fight sequences evidence what might amount to REAL super powers as actors hold poses worthy of Cirque du Soleil periods, Charissa Chamorro as Umbra is especially adroit in this capacity - you may find yourself looking to see if she is being supported by a wire. She's not.

Unlike a comic book movie, a live stage production is somewhat limited in the special effects that are available. Save the World takes this hindrance and runs with it.

The previously mentioned slo-mo fights, the lighting effects, sets and most impressively the sound effects are live theater's answer to digital computer effects. My favorite sound effect is used whenever Stagger (the charming Stephen Bel Davies in a fantastic red suit) stops time.

Even if you are not a fan of superhero comics there is a story here you will enjoy and performances that are humorous and poignant. Plus, you'll be supporting a stellar theater company that wants to Save the World.

January 17th - February 9th, 2008
Thur, Fri, Sat @ 8pm; Sat 3pm

or call 1-800-838-3006

American Theatre of Actors
Chernuchin Theatre

314 West 54th Street

running time: 2 hours (including 1 intermission)