The Chaos Theories
nytheatre.com review by David Reinwald
August 15, 2004
A flashy movie star, a senator and his controlling wife, a vindictive stockbroker, a hallucinating homeless woman—these are just a few of the characters who parade through a downtown restaurant in The Chaos Theories. This new, fast-paced work by Alexander Dinelaris (Zanna Don’t!) allows the audience to look through the window of a Downtown NYC eatery, and at the many odd circumstances and relationships that play out there.
The show features an ensemble of eight versatile actors: Todd Alan Crain, Julian Gamble, Traci Godfrey, Ted Kōch, Amanda Mantovani, Matthew Rauch, Pamela Sabaugh, and Maryann Towne. All of the actors, with the exception of Crain (who plays the waiter throughout the entire show) play multiple roles and bring a fresh energy with each entrance. Godfrey plays a spirited homeless woman who converses with her dead husband and later reappears as a bold and brash L.A. movie producer. She brings a captivating sense of believability each time. Gamble strengthens all of his three roles with a masculine bravado, while Towne has a sentimental and emotional grasp on her characters. Sabaugh demonstrates wit, comic timing, and flair, while Kōch shows us creepy yet instinctual behavior as a stalker on the hunt. Rauch breathes a likeable attitude into his characters, while Crain masters his singularity as the smart-mouthed, overburdened waiter, who becomes the main, connective element in the changing relationships of the play. However, it is Mantovani who steals the show with the monologue of monologues, where she breathlessly and deftly rapid-fires her day’s complaints
The Chaos Theories puts spinning urban life into a capsule where we can digest it piece by piece. The characters we meet remain nameless, suitably anonymous in this virtual setting. Through this microscope, we see the overlap of interactions in the characters’ relationships, where the perceived reality is far from perfect.
Stewart M. Schulman directs the show with a sharp edge. The costumes by Wade Laboissonniere and set design by Tema Levine are hip and contemporary. The lighting by Jeffrey Dine is dark, yet sleek.
The Chaos Theories is an incredibly enjoyable piece of theatre that captivates us with its strong sense of compelling energy.