Our first review
Thanks to everyone on Kickstarter for helping make the show possible.
Danny Bowes · October 1, 2010
It's hard to adequately praise a show as good as Transatlantica, because running down a list of all the things that are entertaining and brilliant about it spoil the surprise of discovery, and part of the sheer joy of experiencing this show is not having any idea what's coming next. It's only minor hyperbole to say that Transatlantica has everything that is good and true about theatre (genius dialogue, characters randomly breaking into song, melodramatic deaths, sword fights, etc). It is, simply, the best show I've seen this year.
Kenny Finkle's script satirizes just about every conceivable convention of theatre, and is impossible to pin down into any convenient categorization. The plot is less a narrative than a joke on plot, plunking a group of wondrously odd characters in the drawing room of a well-to-do psychiatrist (if he indeed even is one) and turning them loose. The script is brimming with allusions to this and that, wordplay for wordplay's sake, and some truly magnificent bad jokes (including one that defies any other description than "turning the major works of Chekhov into an orgy"). It is an ambitious script, and massive. Director Jason Schuler does an extraordinary job of making this potentially unwieldy thing seem effortless; the pace is just brisk enough that the energy never flags, but not so fast that the audience misses anything.
Of course, great writing and directing will only get a show so far. Ultimately you need actors, and this cast delivers with style. From Anna Foss Wilson's demi-operatic (literal) femme fatale to Keith Chandler's flamboyantly melancholy narcissist theatre director (are there any other kinds, really?) to Tim Donovan Jr's beleaguered "straight" man to Evelyn Sullivan's flame-haired stranger from another land to Pierre-Marc Diennet's insane police inspector to Eben Moore's turn as the thoughtless egomaniac with whom literally every other character in the play is either in love or erotically fascinated, the cast functions as one energetic, perfectly aligned unit. Each, in his or her own way, is a delight to watch, and together they sing (at times literally).
Visually, Transatlantica is stunningly hallucinatory. Mathieu Lorain Dignard does not actually appear on stage, but is responsible for several hilarious sight gags; this will make sense when you see the show, which you should. The set, by designer Gian Marco Lo Forte and scenic artist Carolyn Bonnani, is packed with dozens of tiny, subtle details, each of which adds to the overall atmosphere and tone of the show. Jennifer Paar's costumes are flamboyant, hilarious, and do as much to evoke character as the supremely talented writer, director, and cast. The small handful of musical numbers are not only funny but give the cast a chance to display surprising deftness with some truly odd instruments.
If the suggestion that you should see Transatlantica at your first possible convenience has, so far, been too subtle, let there be no mistake: catch this show at some point in its run. At least five things will blow your mind, and at least five other things will make you laugh harder than you've laughed in living memory. Transatlantica is delightful on every possible level, and is a reminder of what theatre can and should be: a work of great artistic merit that is also fantastically entertaining.
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ALCHEMIST ~ Get access to behind-the-scenes updates that document the creation of this tiny, epic production. This includes sneak peeks at the art and design of the world of Transatlantica, insight into the minds of the performers, and general silliness.
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SHAMAN ~ Get your name in the Special Thanks section of our program ~ and the admiration of your peers!
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PRACTITIONER ~ Get your name in the Special Thanks area of the program for the show AND on the WhereisTransatlantica.com website.
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GURU ~ Get a complimentary ticket to the special sneak preview, invite-only dress rehearsal on September 30, 2010 (you'll have to be able to get to NYC to redeem this reward).
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THERAPIST ~ Get a stylish, limited edition TRANSATLANTICA tee-shirt. Designed by Dr. Schüler. It's what everyone will be wearing this fall...
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ATTENDING PHYSICIAN ~ Get one complimentary ticket to the opening night performance of TRANSATLANTICA on October 1, 2010 (you'll have to be able to get to NYC to redeem this reward) - PLUS get your name on the VIP guest list to the after-party.
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APOTHECARY ~ Get an autographed copy of the TRANSATLANTICA poster signed by the playwright and cast - PLUS a TRANSATLANTICA tee-shirt.
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SURGEON ~ Get a hand-bound, special edition copy of the script for the play TRANSATLANTICA, autographed by playwright Kenny Finkle.
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VETERINARIAN ~ Get one Transatlantic Jackalope trophy head, suitable for display in any room in your home. This mythical creature will add wonder and excitement to your domicile. It's a conversation piece that will entertain and impress your friends.
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GASTROENTEROLOGIST ~ Pre-show dinner for two (on us) at a hip downtown NYC restaurant –- two tickets to the TRANSATLANTICA performance of your choice -- PLUS post-show drinks with the cast and crew. (Impress that special someone ;)
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CARDIOLOGIST ~ A private performance of TRANSATLANTICA for you and all your friends (as many as the fire marshal will allow in the theater at one time) and a talk-back session with the artists after the performance, with fine wine and succulent hors d'oeuvres.
- (45 days)