THEATER REVIEW: 2 for 2–“LUNGS”/”STONES IN HIS POCKETS”

Joyce Kulhawik March 2, 2013 0

Two shows on stage right now with a cast of two each, are both winners– so for me it’s two for two! LUNGS at the New Rep and STONES IN HIS POCKETS at the Lyric, convey a world of ideas and a world of characters with a simplicity of means.

NEW REPERTORY THEATRELUNGS begins and ends with two characters– a man and a woman, no names, “no sets, no props, no miming” and 2 words: ” A Baby?”  From this kernel pops the entire play.  The couple begins this conversation in the middle of an IKEA, where essentially they’re shopping for what they value: Should they have kids? Should anyone?  Should they marry?  What about the environment?  Liz Hayes as “W” and Nael Nacer as “M” are talented, compelling acting partners and the whole play hangs on their interaction.

As an educated, hyperaware couple living in an increasingly complicated world, they play off each other’s neuroses and pecadilloes, whipping themselves into a frenzy over the big and little things. At once specific and universal, they draw us into the emotional rhythm of their lives which are hilariously familiar and painfully real. Duncan Macmillan’s play and Bridget Kathleen O’Leary’s direction seamlessly mine the familiar tropes of modern life –with a generous dollop of hope, letting us recognize ourselves up close and from afar–an entertaining and enlightening vantage point.  It’s a shout-out for LUNGS through March 10 at the New Repertory Theatre

STONES IN HIS POCKETS stars Daniel Berger-Jones and Phil Tayler who play an entire Irish Village! They are caught up in the world of movie-making when an American film crew hits town and all of the locals are conscripted into the ranks of extras. Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Stoppard’s hands, the real lives of the movie’s “minor” characters end up front and center in contrast to the Hollywood stars and the quaint stereotypes they’re perpetuating.  Berger-Jones and Phil Tayler effortlessly and with dizzying speed assume varying accents, ages, and genders: the pampered leading lady, the toadying directors and assistants, the town’s troubled youth, and the last living extra from the 1952 movie”The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne.

STONES IN HIS POCKETSFunny, observant– and perhaps a touch maudlin– the play manages to separate the dream from the machine; it reveals the contempt for “the little people” behind the Hollywood factory, without diminishing the dreams that Hollywood inspires in them. See STONES IN HIS POCKETS at The Lyric Stage Company of Boston through March 16!

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