The Seeing Place: Dying City and Two Rooms

Theater, Drama
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The Seeing Place offers a fresh look at a pair of American plays about war and marriage, presented in rep: Christopher Shinn's 2006 Dying City (directed by Adam Reich) and Lee Blessing's 1988 Two Rooms (directed by Brandon Walker).

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Event phone: 212-868-4444
Event website: http://seeingplacetheater.com
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I saw The Seeing Place Theater's production of "Two Rooms" this past weekend and it was terrific! The acting was phenomenal. The pathos and emotion between Micheal (Logan Keeler) and Lanie (Alexandra Hellquist) was touching and palpable. Despite the existentially bare stage, you were drawn into their grief and light intimate moments as you watched them cling desperately to each other's spirit while trying to navigate through their new reality. I felt the absolute love that they had for one another.  Both Mr. Keeler and Ms Hellquist displayed a wide and believable range of emotions.Michael’s frustration with his unending captivity was reflected through his tears, frustrated laughter and transcending fantasy. One could not help but connect to Lanie’s strength of character as she struggled to work through her frustration, tears, confusion and ultimate loss. Walker (Justin Hoch) played the perfect reporter.His conflicted emotions were so evident, yet restrained.Ellen (Lila Smith) nailed her role as the face of the government; at once promoting and apologizing for the government’s actions that were non-actions and failures that were successes.The ending was inevitable but shocking nevertheless and left you breathless. I remain in awe of the level of talent in this theater group.Theater does not get any better than this.


It is a rare and precious thing to witness a perfect play, and The Seeing Place Theater has provided just that with Dying City.  The play centers around three characters portrayed by only two actors in 2005 and 2004 dealing with the relationship and emotional consequences (along with the fatal) of the post-9/11 Iraqi war.  The tone is brilliantly set with one very short scene at the top of the show, after which Erin Cronican (Kelly) and Brandon Walker (Craig AND his gay twin brother, Peter) deliver fearless performances that leave you with a sense of humanity that you probably did not have when you entered the theater.


Walker's passion for his craft and his sheer acting agility are showcased as he portrays two VERY different characters seemingly effortlessly throughout this play, switching back and so forth so quickly at one point -- even down to an off-stage mini-brawl ... with himself.  He has defined the characters so clearly by mannerisms, inflections, posture, and body language that even the minimal costume and prop differences probably wouldn't be necessary to distinguish between his two characters.  These are clearly two very different, but VERY honestly, portrayed characters.


Cronican's performance as Kelly is complete perfection.  She portrays a therapist that, while having accepted the death of her husband having happened, she is not willing to accept that she has to actually deal with it.  As her backstory unfolds throughout the play her performance is all the more haunting, knowing how much darkness she's carrying around with her, yet she is addicted to the not-so-uplifting Law & Order.  About halfway through the show, while Walker is basically being an acting gymnast, we realize that Cronican has not once left the stage, and that it is actually SHE who is carrying the show.  Watching her emotional roller coaster's rises and falls (being separated only by the stage lights dimming) is watching sheer mastery in art and execution.  In every moment of her performance, be it ups and downs, her slyly disconnecting herself from Peter, her giving all of her love and more to Craig, it is truly evident that there is no one more skilled at her craft.


What The Seeing Place has done with this play is raise the bar for all theater, not just indie theater.  While Cronican and Walker delivered performances beyond anything they've done in the past, the directing and technical design must not be overlooked.  It takes more than acting to create a perfect play, and lights and sound kept the play moving seamlessly.


This is the final weekend of Dying City.  Go.  Saturday, 3/8/14, at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, 3/9/14 at 2pm.  Stay for Two Rooms if you can.  The two plays are perfect being paired together.


DYING CITY is very interesting. Flashback scenes are effectively handled and Brandon Walker skillfully makes the viewer think that two brothers are actually in the same apartment together (he plays both roles). Both characters are very different in voice and personality, thanks to Walker's characterizations. Erin Cronican gives a very moving performance as a grieving widow struggling to deal with the uneasy truths of her troubled relationship with her husband. The play has twists and turns that take the viewer on a ride, and director Adam Reich brings it all together very well.


DYING CITY is very interesting. Flashback scenes are effectively handled and Brandon Walker skillfully makes the viewer think that two brothers are actually in the same apartment together (he plays both roles). Both characters are very different in voice and personality, thanks to Walker's characterizations. Erin Cronican gives a very moving performance as a grieving widow struggling to deal with the uneasy truths of her troubled relationship with her husband. The play has twists and turns that take the viewer on a ride, and director Adam Reich brings it all together very well.


Once again, the Seeing Place has produced two well-acted, fascinating plays. There isn't a thing I would want changed about these productions - the actors gave terrific performances, and as with the Seeing Place's other productions, I know I'll often think about these characters and their stories. I strongly recommend these plays!


Witnessed a performance by Alexandra Hellquist last evening that was simply "over the top". Ms Hellquist stars in "Two Rooms" and to my suprise, hasn't asked her Agent to witness the performance...WhY? She doesn't have an Agent. If you happen to be an agent-- looking for a truly talented actress---Go and see her!!


Two excellent shows. We saw them together, and it was very moving. A great troupe


Erin & Brandon were fantastic in Dying City! Such a heart wrenching story performed beautifully by these two actors. And you can see it at such an affordable price! I absolutely recommend it.


Saw 2 Rooms last night and was unbelievably moved by the story and amazed by all performances! I will definitely be back to see Dying City! The theater was small and intimate and made you feel like you are apart of the performance. Absolutely lovely.


Saw Two Rooms last weekend. A gripping performance with true emotion. A great choice for drama buffs as well as visitors to NY looking for a solid choice.


This interesting juxtaposition of plays provided a fulfilling, thought-provoking afternoon that would be difficult to match even in this culture-loaded city. There were both well performed and directed, and each moving in its own way. The company is young, earnest and always welcoming and eager to do their best. This is a refreshing respite from other groups that don't understand that audiences must be cultivated with intelligent offerings and a smile.


I saw both shows, "Dying City" and "Two Rooms". Highly recommend both plays. Fantastic performances by all. Very compelling and heartfelt pieces. I left the theatre with much to think about. Very emotional. Heightens an awareness in the human condition and our world affairs. Troubling but necessary to confront.


Saw two rooms last night. Wow! We'll definitely be back to see dying city. This company does an amazing job of making you think and feel like you're right there in the room with these real people. All four actors were phenomenal. They are just as good or even better than a lot of what we've seen on Broadway, so to get to see this kind of quality acting for only $12 is a steal! Highly recommend it. We're definitely new fans of the seeing place.


Saw Two Rooms tonight, and it was EXCELLENT! I actually plan on going again, it was powerful and provoking and really makes one think about how Americans are seen in other countries. The acting was phenomenal, all the characters felt real. I would definitely recto end seeing this play.


An intimate theater experience. The piece takes you back to the days of the Iraqi but the two actors give a very human face to the complications that set in to their lives. It's a well written play, and the company handles this revival well, giving the characters new breath.