Cut From the Same Cloth
nytheatre.com review by Brad Lee Thomason
August 21, 2009
As enjoyable a story as Cut from the Same Cloth could be, Megan Auster-Rosen and her brother Seth face an uphill battle trying to relate this long and complex narrative to the audience. Written by Megan, Cut from the Same Cloth is her attempt to finish the memoirs of her dad's adventures in West Africa, a task he himself could not complete because of a very unfortunate plane crash that shortened his life. It is touching to see these two attempt this, and they are certainly earnest in their efforts, but what is presented here is not really a play but more of an audio-visual presentation of a book being read aloud.
The two characters on stage, Seth and Megen Auster-Rosen (who are playing themselves), never really interact with each other in a meaningful way, and the actual stage play offers no conflict whatsoever. The story follows Megan and her brother as they try to piece together and finish a book by their father, who was a member of the Peace Corps assigned to Ghana. Megan herself travels to Ghana, and recounts her adventures there as well as the lively characters that she meets through anecdotes and impressions, and although she is quite lively during parts of her account the actual script itself makes this task too challenging. There is a sparse set, but I don't really see a need for it here, as this is quite literally a story being told and could be just as effective without any scenery at all. There is also a screen set up showing videos of West Africa, which does help in tying the story together, but I feel that this story would be better served (and better told, for that matter) had the siblings actually done what they intended—written a book about their father's life and given it to me to read. It certainly would have been easier to understand in that form. What we have here is a tale that is just very difficult to follow, and it was too easy for me to lose interest given the very presentational style in which it's told.
It is difficult for me to be critical of this work, because I know that it obviously holds a lot of meaning for the creators. I think the story is certainly worthwhile and Auster-Rosen gives it the most passionate effort I believe she can, but it wasn't enough to keep me invested in the story or the characters involved with it.