I of The Storm – The Play’s Not the Thing

A white collar, corporate, financial criminal loses everything, serves time, ends up homeless, sees the light, endlessly raves about the state of man and the world (partly in clever verse), has a single quirky relationship, and exits. This overlong monologue is inspired by Alan Watts’ premise that a man is not alive “until he has released the anxious grasp which he normally holds upon his life, his property, his reputation, and position…the irreducible truth in the monkish idea of `holy property.’”

Playwright R.K. Bartholomew’s tirade lurches from intriguing to irritating to boring with only passages about the protagonist’s lovely, unexpected relationship (with Mara, who calls herself Mars) to buoy it. Were it perhaps an hour, half revelation, half friendship, it might have held our attention.

Now let’s talk about Richard Hoehler. The actor’s focus is consummate, his timing a thing of theatrical beauty. Hoehler creates characters-in-passing with successive single lines, not reciting, but having made distinctive choices. His accent in 8? 9? different languages is pristine. The thespian sings beautifully (the piece is peppered with song excerpts) and dances with easy grace. Emotion compels every gesture, mad energy every movement. We believe deep affection as thoroughly as the character’s mania. A primer in acting. Bravo.

Director Janice L. Goldberg uses the all but empty stage with outstanding imagination and sweep. Pacing is pitch perfect. Credit for Hoehler’s performance must go, in part, to her.

I have not a clue as to either the meaning of the Set (Mark Symczak) or sound effects (Craig Lenti) which were at some moments reminiscent of an apocalyptic storm, at others, street noise.

The program contains not a word about the playwright.

Photos by Michael Abrams

I of The Storm by R.J. Bartholomew
Performed by Richard Hoehler
Directed by Janice L. Goldberg
Through October 29, 2017
The Gym at Judson
243 Thompson Street

About Alix Cohen (784 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of eight New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.