Time's Scream and Hurry
nytheatre.com review by David Hilder
August 17, 2009
The three characters in Time's Scream and Hurry don't seem to have a lot in common. A young Latina in Los Angeles discusses her sometimes brutal upbringing, with a mean-spirited and occasionally abusive father and a mentally challenged younger sister. A dominatrix with a thing for burning the hairs off her body addresses a convention of erotic workers in New York City. And, in a bar in Milwaukee, a fellow recently out of a relationship discusses how it came to an end. Each of these characters addresses the audience in monologue, so we never see them interact with another character, only with us.
In fact, these three are all defined by other people. The Latina, known as "So-So's Sister" (Carlita Penaherrera), is charged with taking care of other people, first her sister and then later a baby. "Match Girl" (J.J. Pyle) discusses her intimacy issues, specifically relating them to one man she deeply loved who got away from her. And "The Good Boyfriend" (Charles Pacello) spends much of his hour-long monologue going over his now-dead relationship with a woman who had survived abduction and rape, whom he brought back into the world, but who announced her plan to leave Milwaukee and attend law school on the same night he was planning to propose. All three claim they're seeking moments that transcend the incessant rush of time, that stand apart in beauty and clarity. But they're all damaged in some pretty fundamental ways, and so the audience is left wondering how any of them will manage to rise above the simple facts of their own issues.
Though he has a tendency to overwork metaphor on occasion, Paul Hoan Zeidler's script is strong, with three sharply delineated (and very differently voiced) characters. His direction is less solid, though, especially in staging. All three actors do a fair amount of meandering around the stage. Penaherrera makes the strongest impression as So-So's Sister, showing a mix of strength and vulnerability that is genuinely interesting and appealing. Pyle's Match Girl tells her story with ease, but is so vocally limited that the emotional resonance the piece aims for is lost. Pacello has the longest monologue, and while he is clearly comfortable on stage, the pacing of "The Good Boyfriend" is sluggish, and he comes across as perhaps more intense and intimidating than the character is meant to. (That piece also includes a bizarre moment of audience interaction that does nothing but create an unwelcome discomfort.) So the result is a mixed bag: Some good writing, some good performances...but nothing truly transcendent.