A gold star for the Redd Tale Theatre Company
by Lisa A. Fraser
Aug 17, 2011 | 21518 views | 0 0 comments | 1436 1436 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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A scene from Redd Tale’s second production, “Gabriel.”
In an Ikea-clad apartment on the wealthy side of town, three friends, all very accomplished in various scientific fields, gathered around over wine and the occasional friendly pun as one of them unveiled — in a rather semi-formal fashion -- his creation of a human being, two million years in the future.

The friends, of course, were actors. The apartment, which was set in the small stage space of Nicu’s Spoon Theatre at 38 West 38th street, belonged to Henry, an accomplished scientist living in London, played by Will Le Vasseur, the artistic director of the Astoria-based Redd Tale Theatre Company.

And this modern-day science fiction tale, “Gabriel,” was one of validation and a burning desire to venture into the human being’s thirst while pushing past the paradigms to find out “what if?”

In it, Henry creates Gabriel, a smart, rather attractive, melanin-lacking futuristic human who is more conscious and embracing of his health, his sexual preferences and the heightened collective conscience.

He introduces Gabriel to his two equally accomplished friends, Susan, a sassy, skeptical scientist (played by Cameran Hebb) and Pierce, Susan’s husband (played by James Stewart), also a scientist and well-versed in the complexities of the human DNA.

As the story unfolds in front of a small audience in an intimate off-off Broadway setting, the modern-day creation myth plays out smoothly, reeling the audience in with laughter, empathy and philosophical, universal questions of their own; not to mention, a queer twist toward the end.

“Gabriel” was written by Le Vasseur and directed by Lynn Kenny. The creation myth is one way in which Le Vasseur and his partner and co-artistic director James Stewart aim to bring science fiction to the stage. “I wanted you to walk out of the theatre and truly ask yourself: what are we going to become and how can I bring my best to humanity?” Le Vasseur said.

Provocative, entertaining and thought-provoking, “Gabriel” captivates the audience and develops a story that enables them to fall in love, even if slightly, with each character. “We want to show people that they don’t have to be afraid of science fiction on stage,” Le Vasseur said.

“Gabriel” has the makings of a lovable play and even more, the plot is strong enough to be made into a humorous, thought-provoking sitcom.

And while “Gabriel” holds its own, another tale by the RTTC, eloquently and authentically tells the story of one of the most notorious creation myths of all.

“Franskenstein with Mary Shelley,” adapted by actress Virginia Bartholomew, effortlessly tells the harrowing creation tale in three different perspectives -- Mary Shelley, Victor, and the “monster” -- all played by Bartholomew.

In the short play, Bartholomew weaves seamlessly among characters, letting the audience in to the mind of each one and giving them a window on which to perch and view the mirror that is each while allowing them to empathize with the underlying humanistic, visceral desires to be loved, recognized and accepted.

Bartholomew was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a lead role by the NYIT for the company’s production of Macbeth last season.

The RTTC is in its fifth season and although their productions are staged in Manhattan, Le Vasseur, Stewart and five other company members all live in Astoria.

The two plays will run at Nicu’s Spoon Theatre until August 27 from Thursday through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10-$15 and are available at 212-868-4444 or www.smarttix.com.

For more information, check out Reddtale.org

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