Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for June 2010
BY Brandon Voss
June 07 2010 1:15 PM ET
If you thought nothing good ever came from airport delays, check out The Common Air, a solo play by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill, which soars at 45 Bleecker Street Theatre through June 27. Skillfully performed by Lyras with sophisticated direction by McCaskill, this one-man show uses a possible terrorist threat and the resulting delay at JFK to circularly link an ethnically diverse group of people — think Sarah Jones’s Bridge & Tunnel meets Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde. Rich in detailed mannerisms that somehow steer clear of stereotypes, these engaging characters include a Texan professor, a sample-stealing DJ, a douchey attorney, an Iraqi cabbie, an Iraqi-American just back from Baghdad, and a lint brush-wielding gay gallery owner who opens up about his enlightening trip to Mykonos and the gay-bashed boyfriend he abandoned.
Proving that gay theater can still successfully and meaningfully explore the subject of AIDS in 2010, out playwright Anton Dudley’s lovely Letters to the End of the World ended its very limited engagement May 16 at Theatre Row’s Studio Theatre. But Dudley, who also directed his intimate drama about a New Yorker inspired by a pen pal to leave his boyfriend and travel to Africa in 1998, tackles the virus with unexpected twists: It’s the AIDS crisis in Zambia that takes center stage despite the young gay couple at the heart of the play, and when one of the men does contract the disease, it’s through a fling with a heterosexual woman. Overcoming a tight space and some florid writing, the performances were stellar, especially Charles Socarides and Peter O’Connor as the couple, even if I couldn’t grasp why, besides hot sex, they were together.