16 April 2008

"I promise you that soon you will be older."

I have been remiss in (not) blogging about From Up Here, which I saw on Saturday. Though I have been bestowing copious praise and gratitude on every person I even tangentially know who's involved. So I shouldn't leave you guys out.

Unlike some reviewers (you might want to avoid the let's-give-everything-away Times*), I don't want to get into plot specifics, because one of the major pleasures of this play is the perfect way information is unfolded and revealed. It's gradual and delicate, and the experience of the pieces slipping into place is not something you should be deprived of.

I've said to two different people that I want to wrap myself up in the play like a blanket, which, looking back, is weird for a play that deals with some really dark stuff. But I think it's a testament to the deep reserves of love in the play. It's full of warmth and heart, full of people who love each other very much, who are overflowing with need and caring. It just doesn't always match up easily. That sort of near-miss makes for powerful stories.

Here's where I plug the fact that this play, from (I believe) a young playwright, came through Ars Nova's writers' group (I think) and Out Loud reading series (this last fact I am sure of). I love Ars Nova and the way they support artists. I'm so glad events worked out the way they did for MTC to have an empty slot - I like this play much more than what it replaced - and for the right people to be in the right places to get this play to a beautiful (co-)production.

And it is a beautiful production. The cast knocked me out. Two actors - Tobias Segal and Will Rogers (r. and l. below, respectively) - play characters very similar to what I've seen them do before (Will in in 100 Saints You Should Know and Toby in Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen** and Doris to Darlene), but both find the nuance and specificity to overcome typecasting the fact that they are very good at playing certain kinds of seventeen-year-olds. These actually end up being completely different characters from the previous roles, which is a testament to the actors, the direction, and the fact that these characters are written so well. On the other side of typecasting, the side where it isn't happening, Aya Cash, previously seen as a good-hearted Russian chick in short skirts and high boots in The Pain and the Itch, switches it up and plays an incredibly believable high school sophomore. She beautifully creates a strong, loving, honest, afraid character. I really think she's some kind of brilliant. That's not even half the cast - Julie White? Arija Bareikis (whom I haven't seen since the amazing Orange Flower Water)? Brian Hutchison? - and they're all amazing.

I love that both plays that MTC has running off-Broadway right now (this and The Four of Us) are so good, and by great young(ish) writers. And soon Top Girls on Broadway? I approve. Which I know they care about.

So yeah, go see this play. (That's the kind of eloquent ending we get when I've got to wake up at 6:30 tomorrow for a staff meeting.) There are $25 student tickets available an hour before showtime. If you buy tickets with code 3667 before April 20th, you can get tickets for $55, rather than $75, which to me sounds expensive, but you probably make more money than I do. If there's any way you can see this, do.

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*Although once you've seen the show, this audio slide show is awesome.
**And wow, look this picture again. That cast was hot. And I have problems.

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