Reminiscence of the Ghetto
nytheatre.com review by Spencer Chandler
August 15, 2004
It’s hard to know where to begin when writing about Reminiscence of the Ghetto & Other Things that Raized Me, a new solo-performance piece written and performed by the outstanding anGela kaRIOTis (unique capitalization hers). Until now, I have not had the pleasure and challenge of writing a rave review, so I’m not quite certain how to tell you enough about it to persuade you to see it, yet still guard the surprise of the insights, humor, and musicality in the many brilliant moments of her 85-minute performance. But here goes...
anGela is a Greek-American young woman who grew up in Irvington, New Jersey in lower-class environs commonly known as “the Ghetto.” Recalling a pint-sized Will Power (and comparing favorably to his powerhouse talent and range as both Hip-Hop artist and serious actor), anGela communicates a personal and very true story: inspiring, enlightening, funny, heart-breaking and boundary-breaking. She succeeds in defying stereotypes, transcending the definition of “Ghetto” and can move an entire audience—judging from the hearty applause and copious laughter—to rethink a major portion of life. She crystallizes the essence of what it means not to give up, and her performance, as well as her very life force, entertains and uplifts. With a powerful voice and body, robust and poetic writing, and fiercely precise multi-character portrayals, Reminiscence leaves you with the powerful insight of a new paradigm for underdogs everywhere.
To try to give you more detail strikes me rather like trying to describe the dramatic moments of a great football game after it has occurred. Instead, let me simply say that Reminiscence is something that everyone can and should see.
Director Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, has either helped anGela shape her performance, or wisely stayed out of the way. In either case, he’s done a great service, in the simplicity of a lone three-step platform, a few well-placed music tracks, and thoughtful movement making complete use of the small stage. A cleverly named ‘Old School Crew’ offers support to the worthy cause.
In the intimate setting of the current venue, you have the full benefit of anGela’s intimacy and power, and it’s a pleasure to enjoy the proximity. I look forward to seeing this vital performer, and this performance, again soon.