This is so with a key scene when he is Oedipus and even more so at the conclusion as Hakija. The ante is upped in this play because the actor is supposed to be untrained, yet everyone recognizes that he’s capable of Hollywood stardom. One criticism: Hajika needs to be played with the slight accent that is mentioned a couple of times, which would underscore his otherness.
For the most part, he’s well supported here. As Jen, who is Jocasta to his Oedipus and his romantic interest in the rehearsal room, Lippincott offers more than being pretty to appeal to him. An appropriately edgy quality is developed by Arnold as Paola, which comes in handy toward the end. Similarly establishing a convincing personality is JonPaul Rainville as Christmas, an oddly named gay actor who lightens the atmosphere now and then.
In life as in make-believe, what do we (and should we) take away from what people say, from how they act? Can things that are not actually true be heightened realities that affect us for the better? This play asks, and gets us to ask, deep questions.
This 2004 Obie winner for best new off-Broadway play is a powerhouse. Lucas and the URI ensemble go far to convince us that character is fate, whether you’re talking about today’s presidential competition or the rest of us running around deciding whose values to value.
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