The wait is over

Watching and Waiting - Specter and other plays

By Don Nigro
Directed by Kevin Kittle
Inertia Productions Inc.
Manhattan Theatre Source
Non-union production (closed)
Review by Doug DeVita

Don Nigro is a playwright who goes straight for the jugular. Nimbly playing cat-and-mouse with such contemporary concerns as paranoia, male/female angst, and eerie urban myth, in Nigro's world men are not from Mars, women are not from Venus: they are both, depending on your gender or point or view, from heaven and hell.

Watching and Waiting, an evening of three of Nigro's one-act plays, did just that: it watched, it waited, and when least expected, lunged forward with such recognizable, venomous truth that the jolts were shocking, energizing and profoundly disturbing. And in Kevin Kittle's taut, tense production, enthralling and hugely entertaining as well.

In Specter, a man (Eric Walton) driving down a deserted road during a rainstorm swerves to avoid hitting a woman (Danielle Liccardo) who has suddenly appeared from nowhere. His car ends up planted in a ditch, and she winds up in his front seat. Do they plan to make love, kill each other, or both? In a stunning series of conversations, Walton and Liccardo were riveting as they played mind and power games with each other with malicious glee.

In Wonders of the Invisible World Revealed, a young housemaid (Jackie Kamm) is fascinated by a mysterious lodger (Rhett Rossi) whose room is filled with strange bottles. Bad-tempered, impatient, and wrapped completely in bandages, the lodger torments her, and then reveals his secret: he is invisible. Kamm and Rossi were both incandescent, Rossi particularly impressive given his all-consuming costume. Together, they turned this dark love story into a fascinating, heartbreaking excursion into the many meanings of invisibility.

In Scarecrow, a young girl (Kamm) lives with her eccentric mother (Liccardo) in an old farmhouse on the edge of a cornfield. She meets a man (Calvin Gladen) under a tree by a creek and is led step by step into a web of lust and betrayal. Once again, Liccardo and Kamm quite literally became their characters, and along with the devilishly creepy Gladen, turned an already superior script into a crackling tour-de-force for all involved.

Inertia's production was at that level of quality that transcends categorization. Everything was first-rate, from Nigro's beautifully written scripts, Kittle's clear, concise direction, and the outstanding performances of the cast, to the aptly simple sets (Walton) and costumes (Francis Chavez), and the extraordinarily precise lighting (David Alan Comstock) and sound (Susan Williams).

Founded in December of 1998 by Liccardo and Gladen, Inertia Productions, Inc. was given their 501(c)(3) status as a charitable arts organization in May of 1999. This is mentioned to prove that the only inert thing about them is their name, which should become one of the giants in the Off-Off-Broadway world if Watching and Waiting is any indication. It was that good.
Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Set: 2
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2000 Doug DeVita