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Mario Fratti's Trio of Plays: "The Anniversary", "Missionaries", "Blindness" at Theatre for the New City
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Mario Fratti's Trio of Plays: "The Anniversary", "Missionaries", "Blindness" at Theatre for the New City

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Theatre for the New City

The Anniversary

By Mario Fratti
(Mario Fratti Website)
Directed by Stephan Morrow

Theater for the New City
(Theater for the New City Website)
Crystal Field, Exec. Director
155 1st Avenue
NY, NY 10003

The Anniversary:
Patrick McCarthy
Jennifer Loryn
Sean Phillips

Rose Gregorio
Chris Kerson

Joe Ambrose
Billy Marshall Jr.
Brendan McDonough
Rachel McOwen

Set Design: Mark Marcante
Lighting Design: Alexander Bartenieff
Stage Manager: Roy Chang
Set Detail: Zen Mansley

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 14, 2010

See an Interview with Mario Fratti

Mario Fratti specializes in surprise endings, and he did not disappoint tonight. I came down to the East Village in a driving rain, because Fratti is an exemplary playwright, with spark and wit and intelligent design. His Trio of plays, “The Anniversary”, “Missionaries”, and “Blindness”, feature a total of nine actors with impressive backgrounds. In “The Anniversary”, a father visits his daughter every year on her birthday, or so we think. The servant knows all, and Patrick McCarthy, Jennifer Loryn, and Sean Phillips, respectively as Father, Daughter, and Servant, evoke the human condition of loneliness, revenge, greed, deception, lust, and repression. The conversation is tense, foreboding, and eventually revelatory.

In “Missionaries”, with Rose Gregario as Sister Caterina and Chris Kerson as Father Edwards, evokes the condition of lust, denial, despair, and guilt. There’s humor within, as this segment is replete with the hypocrisy of organized religion, its oppressive rules, and its scandalous history. Fratti handles the material with delicately drawn dialogue that mesmerizes the viewer with witty innuendo. Ms. Gregario was a natural in the role, as was Mr. Kerson, and they played it with an underlying wink to the audience.

“Blindness” relates to the agony of war, with Joe Ambrose, as Anderson, father of a recently deceased soldier, Billy Marshall as his son, Dan Anderson, Brendan McDonough as Brian, a blinded war buddy of Anderson’s lost son, and Rachael McOwen as Brian’s wife, Cathy. Again, surprise twists fluidly unfold, as the characters and audience together learn more about what actually happened in and out of the heat of battle. The human condition of gnawing grief consumes the moment, especially given the offstage Mrs. Anderson who remained upstairs. This is a decidedly anti-war statement by Fratti, as death from war can occur through a multitude of events, often not truthfully acknowledged. Mark Marcante’s three creative sets, with details by Zen Mansley, drew my eye to the verbal heat of each scene. Alexander Bartenieff’s lighting worked perfectly throughout.

Stephen Morrow directed each one-act play masterfully, with an obvious comfort with Fratti’s style and purpose. Mario Fratti is a prolific playwright, having published dozens of plays, which were produced around the globe in dozens of languages. He’s most known for his hugely successful adaptation of Fellini’s “8 ˝” for the Broadway show and film, “Nine”. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Fratti’s works. Here’s one of my past reviews of a Fratti play. Kudos to Mario Fratti.

Rose Gregorio and Christopher Kerson
in Mario Fratti's "TRIO"
at Theater for the New City
Courtesy of Peter James Zielinski.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at