nytheatre.com review by Nicholas Linnehan
March 10, 2012
Saint Theresa, a sixteenth century nun, seems to cause a lot of controversy. Are her “ecstasies” a communion with God or merely the result of a drug-induced hallucination? This becomes a central point of debate in Begonya Plaqza's new work Teresa's Ecstasy.
Carlotta, a writer, is visiting her ex-husband in Barcelona on her way to Avila, where she will be researching St. Teresa. There's just one problem; her husband Andres still considers them married and desperately wants their marriage to work. Carlotta is determined to make her divorce official by personally hand delivering divorce paper to Andres. It is clear that Carlotta and Andres still have unfinished business and deep affection for each other. Accompanying Carlotta on her quest is her Jewish publisher Becky who is clearly a force to be reckoned with.
Director Will Pomerantz, tries valiantly to make some of the more contrived parts of the script work. His greatest success is with Shawn Elliot's depiction of Andres, who handles some strange moments, that seem to come out of no where, well.
Elliot delivers a well-rounded performance and his comic timing and blunt nature make him stand out. He is also able to show us his deep love for his wife and the betrayal he feels. The audience is captivated by his compelling and honest performance. His co-stars seem to struggle with their characters, but hopefully this will disappear as the run continues.
The set, designed by Adrian Jones is impeccable. We clearly understand where we are from the start of the play. Jane Shaw's sound design further enhances the Spanish themes of the play.
The play needs some additional work. Yet its central idea of St. Teresa's and Carlotta's lives inter-twining is interesting and worth being developed further.