“Rebuild” was the main theme used in By The Water, Sharyn Rothstein’s insightful experience about the family dynamic, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The play revolves around an older couple, Marty and Mary, whose house was destroyed by Sandy. Unlike most of their neighbors on Staten Island, they decide to stay and rebuild their house. However, when they’re two grown sons come home, one an overall good-successful son, and the other a rebel type, tensions mount.
The overall atmosphere of the theater is interesting. As you walk in, you realize that it is a much smaller theater than normal. There is one stage, with no curtains, or back exit way. Nonetheless, this does not detract from the performance. Rather, the simplicity emphasized the fact of what was lost in the storm. The small amounts of props were used skillfully and gracefully, to switch between different scenes. Tables, chairs, lighting and different sounds would remind the audience of the change in time and days. At some points you could even hear the small sound of birds chirping at sunrise, or the distant crash of waves on the shore.
While the scope of the special effects in the play was small, the actors’ scenes of pure emotion made up for it. One of the sons, Brian, played by Tom Pelphrey, deals with many issues, much of which relate to his past failures. In one scene, after fighting with his dad, he turns toward the audience. The deep hurt and trauma shown by his face, holds you spellbound. He is so emotional with his character that you can see his legs literally shaking; enough to make the fabric of his pants vibrate. At other points, when a family argument would insure, the yelling would seem so real, that you would almost feel scared just being in the same room. Vyto Ruginis who plays Marty, portrays a lot of yelling scenes, and yet in others he shows juxtaposition in how he treats his wife. One minute he is getting very worked up about not moving, and the...
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