Theater Review: ‘Still More of Our Parts’

The disabled take charge

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NEW YORK—Six very short plays (all six total 70 minutes) detail some of the woes of belonging to the disabled community. However, you won’t hear a complaint; some of the content offers suggestions on how “walkies” (as they are sometimes referred to by the disabled) can improve their attitude and behavior toward their physically limited brethren.

Setting up Neil LaBute’s “Call Back,” all company members enter, some in wheelchairs, others using a cane, by way of filling up the anteroom of a big city casting office. Two actors have been called back to audition for a show.

The woman, simply called Her (Mary Theresa Archbold) points out to Him (Jonathan Todd Ross) that they have met before—in fact, in an apparently intimate situation. He, or Him, fudges about before finally admitting this. She, or Her, pointedly gets her revenge in a surprise denouement. Karen Case Cook directs.

In Lynn Manning’s “Playing the Card,” the Evaluator (Jonathan Todd Ross) must decide if Sandra Stalwart (Jamie Petrone) and others are eligible to utilize the Access Disability Transit system. In this tension-raising interview, if applicants don’t use a wheelchair, they may not be accepted. A well-dressed, self-sufficient blind man may have cause to worry. Also in the cast are Ray Johnson and Hyram Cruthird, with Roberto Cambeiro as director.

In Bruce Graham’s “Fully Accessible,” a feisty disabled person points out with humor to a bureaucrat that this very theater is not truly accessible, as required by law. Also, why can’t the disabled get discounted, or even free, tickets? Actors Ann Marie Morelli, Mary Theresa Archbold, and Shawn Randall take their orders from director Christina Roussos in a thought-provoking piece.

Bekah Brunstetter’s “Forgotten Corners of Your Dark, Dark Place” features four women pondering why they haven’t advanced further in their desires. Participants are Ann Marie Morelli, Christine Bruno, Shannon DeVido, and Jamie Petrone, under Nicholas Viselli’s direction.

In Jerrod Bogard’s “Supernova in Reseda,” Simon (Lawrence Merritt), a veteran but fading star, tries to persuade his agent Muriel (the vivid Tonya Pinkins) that he, with the right plan, is worthy of vying for an Academy Award. He is aided in his wish by the somewhat pugnacious Lauren (Samantha Debicki).

Muriel is given the last name of Mengels—perhaps a play on words on Sue Mengers, the charming but ruthless Hollywood agent, now being portrayed by Bette Midler on Broadway? The piece is quite entertaining, with helming by Christopher Burris.

Samuel D. Hunter’s “Good Beer” takes us into the realm of craft beer, with Shannon (Shannon DeVido) and David (David Harrell) also discussing dating as they sit at a table in a bar. Director is Russell Treyz.

The variety of situations gives a good overview of some of the challenges met by disabled people, some on a daily basis. The cast is a nice mix of the disabled and able-bodied.

In a post-performance speech (to raise money for the company’s ongoing efforts), Tonya Pinkins stated that she was thrilled to be able to work on stage again, instead of being limited to film and TV. Theater always beckons.

Sets are by Nicholas Lazzaro, lighting by Daniel Barbee, costumes by Kristine Koury, and sound by Sam Crawford.

Still More of Our Parts
Clurman Theatre
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
Tickets: 212-239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com
Running Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Closes: June 28

Diana Barth publishes New Millennium, an arts publication. For information: www.diabarth@juno.com.


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