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Paulanne Simmons

Star Alarm Shine Brightly

"Star Alarm"
Directed by Jordan Dann
270 Lafayette St., Suite 612
April 22-24, 28-30, May 1 at 8pm
Tickets: $20 staralarm.eventbrite.com
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons April 24, 2011

One of the 8 performers in "Star Alarm", Chris Taylor (aka Cavalier
King) penned all the songs in the production. Photo by Eve Lateiner.

If you want to see the kind of innovative, thoughtful theater that is the backbone of New York culture, get a ticket for Star Alarm which has four more performances, April 28, 29, 30 and May 1.

The show, about four artists navigating a "cosmic" struggle, is mostly an ensemble piece presented by Hands Together Collective & Mud/Bone Collective. After a few creative workshops, it was written by Wind Dell Woods. And it is directed by Jordan Dann with energy and intelligence.

Star Alarm unfolds like a collage, most appropriately presented in an artist's studio exhibiting the works of executive producer Eve Lateiner. Movement and song punctuate the story of the four artists: an actor, a poet, a painter and a musician. Each artist is young, enthusiastic and dealing more or less successfully with rejection, self-doubt, and family problems.

When the painter, Clay (Therese Barbato) achieves moderate success, she finds that it is not as sweet as she might have imagined. Friends are jealous and feel neglected. Parents either don't understand or are not suitably appreciative of her work. The media only wants a piece of the newest big thing.

Robert Palmer is particularly effective as Clay's dying mother, a loving, but self-absorbed woman who lives in an apartment filled with memories and clutter. And the mother's story interweaves delicately between fantasy and reality, giving the play a mystical quality entirely appropriate to its theme.

In the end, artists only have themselves and their talent to depend on. Creativity is a struggle, says Star Alarm. But not an impossible one. Where there is a will there is a way (maybe).

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