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Theater review

By Robert M Massimi. Published about a year ago 3 min read
Robert Massimi writes for New York Lifestyles Magazine and Metropolitan Magazine.

The Plot Gets Lost in The Séance

"Ectoplasm" By Spit and Vigor has many good things working for it. The set and sound by Florence Scagliarini are first rate and so is some of the acting. The gothic set matches The Players Theatre like it was the theaters living room. Both the set and theater give off a "cool vibe". Like the last show put on at The Players by Spit and Vigor (The Wake of Dorcas Kelly), the audience was treated to the same gothic feel and the same undertone of a show that is Avant Garde in writing and design. Unlike "Dorcas", however, "Ectoplasm" is not well written. The show is billed as two woman who work together as mediums: Sara Marshall (Jillian Cicalese) and Kaye Schultz (Caitlin Dullahan-Bates). Sara fully believes in what she does and the life as a medium; Kaye is distraught in that she believes that they are charlatans and do nothing to help people.

It is 1912 and the set is based at the home of Mme Francine Montfort (Florence Scagliarini). She was a former prostitute and has inherited family money as well as a title. She has a deep penchant for the dark side. Her lust swings between both men and woman; her love of hard liquor and the nightlife is never quashed. She invites both the Orinthall's and the Crookes over to watch Sara perform a seance. It is never made clear as to why though. Is she a sceptic like Ira Orinthall? Does she enjoy the black magic? Or is it that she wants to make a play for the many people she does throughout the party? These questions never get answered, nor do many others throughout the 90 minutes.

Sara Fellini does a better job in directing this play than as the play's author. As a director she makes the actors believable, in her writing we never get this feeling. In the beginning we get the sexual tension between Sara and Kaye, Kaye and Francine and Sara and Francine. Kaye wants to bed Sara in the worst way, Sara makes it clear that Kaye has daemons and needs to deal with them. Kaye decides to quit the duo even though she is a small part of their routine. Sara wants to prove her worth to everyone at the party, to show them that what she does is real and worthwhile. The show questions her legitimacy constantly even though she has proven to Mr. Orinthall that she is for real and has further proven herself by producing Elisha Kane, a man who has been dead for years.

Sara Fellini is an accomplished writer. She has won numerous awards for writing over the years (Hazard a Little Death, The Other Mozart, to name a few). In "Ectoplasm" she misses the mark in trying to put to many things in the plot and at the same time has to many things missing. The bantering between Kaye and Sara are mostly meaningless' whether it is the talk about blood, apple strings or relationships, it never really sets up the plot for anything meaningful. The limited intercourse between the cast is as shallow and confusing as the dancing scenes. Fellini would serve this play better if she made clearer the roles of Francine, Sara and Kaye. In not doing so the audience scrambles to figure the plot out.

In "Dorcas Kelly" Fellini as artistic director gave us a solid show. Here, even with a strong set and mostly good acting by Jillian Cicalese, Adam Belvo, Florence Scagliarini and Federico Mostert and solid lighting by Chelsie McPhilimy, this play pulls up short on just what it is trying to express.

Harry Potter Condensed.

I am not sure if you will ever see anything staged like this; ever. "Harry Potter has condensed the two plays at 3:35 minutes long. For the most part the play is for a younger crowd, but it certainly is enjoyed for people of all ages. Even though I am not a big Harry Potter fan, the show is fun to be at and the Lyric Theater is perfect for this play. The classic Lyric Theater has the dark features which really blends the mood into the play.

Having just recently seen Aladdin, I think that these two shows Alladin and Potter should not be missed, especially if your children want to see a Broadway show. Like Potter, Alladin is well staged. Bringing the two Potter shows into one was very intellegent...


About the Creator

Robert M Massimi.

I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I've seen over700 shows

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